NASA’s Regulations on Merchandising Requests and Media Usage Guidelines strictly prohibit the use of its intellectual property in NFT.
Former United States First Lady Melania Trump’s latest NFT drop “Man on the Moon” has been met with pushback as it appears to be in violation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) merchandising regulations. The limited edition collectible was released on Wednesday, one day before the 54th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, and features a July 21, 1969 image of astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon. The image was captured by fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong who is seen as a reflection in Aldrin’s visor.
The $75 collectible places the iconic image in a silver frame with a textured surface that appears to be inspired by the moon’s surface. The bottom of the frame sports a three-dimensional model of the moon while the back features the disembodied text “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. It also includes an embedded audio file that will be “unlocked” upon purchase.
— MELANIA TRUMP (@MELANIATRUMP) July 20, 2023
NASA’s Regulations on Merchandising Requests and Media Usage Guidelines strictly prohibit the use of its intellectual property in NFT. While images that are produced by the agency and in the public domain – like the Buzz Aldrin image – can be used freely, NASA reserves the right to approve or deny requests for their use on merchandise. The regulations state that the agency “does not wish for its images to be used in connection with NFTs” and is “not approving any merchandising applications” related to NFTs.
The drop was done in partnership with USA Memorabilia, the “premiere NFT platform featuring United States memorabilia”. It appears that the former first lady and the NFT platform did not consult with the federal agency, hence the conflict.
The drop has sparked conversation online as members of the NFT and crypto community wait to see how the agency will respond. It is unclear if NASA will take legal action against Trump. A NASA attorney is reported to have previously told The Los Angeles Times that while the agency can send cease-and-desist letters to merchants who overstep its guidelines, it prefers less confrontational means including informal conversations.
Melania Trump, like her husband former US President Donald Trump, has been an active participant in the NFT space in recent weeks. Last month the former first lady debuted a line of collectibles commemorating pivotal moments in American history with a collection titled the “1776 Collection”.