Over a year and a half ago, Jack Matthews and Sean McMahon met at a scientific conference and concluded that someone needs to protect the galaxy. So, they started writing a paper on it.
With so many missions to the outer space, governments and companies keep on exploring the space and raising the bar. However, Matthews and McMahon are concerned about the environment on extraterrestrial sites where ships landed.
Matthews is a post-doctoral fellow at the department of earth sciences (Memorial University), and also a research fellow at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. McMahon works at the Centre for Astrobiology (University of Edinburgh). Matthews explains their concerns:
“We need everyone to engage, not just one particular company or country. So, I think it is the responsibility of all countries and companies that are exploring space to do so responsibly and to have due consideration for all important scientific, historical and environmental sites on all celestial bodies.”
“Exogeoconservation: Protecting geological heritage on celestial bodies.”
They hope that by publishing this paper, scientists will realize that they will have to extend geoconservation for the whole solar system.
Mathews argues that we must create a global agreement to protect the outer space environments, as there is no law to protect other moons and planets:
“As this becomes an international enterprise it’s important that the world works together. People may say this is a kind of dream, that it couldn’t possibly happen. But the perfect example is Antarctica, where the world has already agreed that Antarctica is a place of research and conservation for the entire world, and therefore there is a global treaty the controls what can happen in Antarctica.”
Since both scientists have identified the problem and also came with a solution, their paper will spark a debate among other scientists and hopefully will lead to the creation of such an agreement.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.