Lunar parking permits (1)

Do you need special permission to land something on the moon?

Click to listen if the media player below doesn't work. Fill in all gaps, then press "Check" to check your answers. Use the "Hint" button to see the next letter if you are having difficulty with an answer. You can also click the "help" button to get a clue. You do not need to use more than TWO words or a number. In most cases, one word is enough.


Google recently announced its sponsorship of the Lunar X Prize, which $20 million to the first private firm to land a on the moon by the end of . Will these companies need special to put something on the moon?

Not exactly. You do need a permit to anything into space from Earth. Governments supervise private space activity through the provided by the Outer Space Treaty of , which has been signed by , all of the major space-faring countries.

In the US, various government agencies follow private activities in , but the bulk of the oversight comes through the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of . Any American citizen who wants to launch a rocket or other kind of spacecraft into orbit must obtain from the .
The Office spends up to six months vetting launch plans for potential to the public that could if something went awry — like falling or the formation of a from an explosion. During the review of an application, the FAA also investigates whether a plan with the National Environmental Policy Act.

The few other countries with commercial space sectors, like Brazil, , and Russia, require permission from a governmental equivalent of the FAA, and the for Outer Space Affairs maintains a of international space regulations. In the case of a multinational launch, a team would have to authorization from all of the countries involved.

By controlling launches into space, a government can to regulate what happens there.