Melania Trump Has Released an Apollo 11-Themed NFT That May Violate NASA’s Merchandising Policy

The NFT features the iconic image of astronaut Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the moon.

U.S. First Lady Melania Trump sits in the Oval Office during a meeting between President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images.

Former first lady Melania Trump has released a collection of Apollo 11-themed NFTs that may violate NASA policies.

The NFTs feature one of the most popular photos from the Apollo program—the 1969 image of astronaut Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the moon as taken by Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, who is seen reflected with the lunar lander in Aldrin’s visor.

The picture is seen on an iPod-shaped rotating object textured like the surface of the moon with Armstrong’s misquoted exclamation, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The Man on the Moon NFTs are being sold for $75 each and the listing on a website called USA Memorabilia shows 479 editions remaining. It was not immediately clear how many were originally minted. They are being branded as a “limited edition collectible” that has a “special audio” embedded that will unlock after purchase.

The Man on the Moon NFT offered by Melania Trump. Courtesy of USA Memorabilia

NASA’s images are generally not copyrighted because they are produced by a federal agency. Beyond that, NASA also makes its images available to the public for “educational or informational purposes.”

Still, NASA has a document outlining the agency’s regulations for merchandising requests noting that “strict laws and regulations” govern how NASA’s branding and imagery can be used by companies.

“NASA is not approving any merchandising applications involving Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), as they are not consistent with the categories of products the agency is approved to merchandise,” the document reads.

“Further, as stated in the NASA Media Usage Guidelines, NASA does not wish for its images to be used in connection with NFTs.”

The potential consequences for violating NASA’s guidelines were not immediately clear, though it’s not stopped entities like Anicorn Watches from releasing a NASA-branded NFT in 2021, designed by Richard Danne, who created the space agency’s beloved “worm” logo.

USA Memorabilia does not list ownership or Trump’s name anywhere on the site, but a Whois search shows that any identifying information about the domain’s ownership has been “redacted for privacy.” However, Melania Trump has claimed the NFTs during an interview with Fox News.

The former first lady started selling NFTs in December 2021, inaugurating her own digital platform with the sale of a NFT collection of watercolor portraits created by French artist Marc-Antoine Coulon. The sale was such a dud that Trump allegedly bought one of her own NFTs.


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