January 27

1967 — Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, signed by US, UK, and Soviet Union

 

Nobody noticed when the Outer Space Treaty expired.

In 1967, the treaty was designed to prevent the threat (mostly hypothetical, at the time) of military activity on Earths moon or on nearby planets.  No earthly government was permitted to own another celestial resource, in whole or in part, and countries were forbidden from deploying nuclear weapons in space.

The Moon should be a peaceful satellite.

In the first quarter of the 21st century, as global economies plummeted and debates emerged about changes in the Earths climate, people were too worried about their own planet.  They stopped thinking about outer space.

Until the night that should have brought a full moon. 

The softly glowing circle in the sky looked like a bite had been taken out of it.

Reports emerged that a rogue government had performed nuclear tests on the Moon.  Apparently, they went badly.

Our peaceful satellite shifted in its orbit. 

Earthly tides responded.