Melania Trump’s latest NFT drop, titled “Man on the Moon,” has sparked controversy as it appears to violate NASA’s merchandising regulations. Released just one day before the 54th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the limited edition collectible features a historic image of astronaut Buzz Aldrin taken by Neil Armstrong on July 21, 1969, with Armstrong’s reflection visible in Aldrin’s visor.
Priced at $75, the collectible showcases the iconic image in a silver frame with a textured surface reminiscent of the moon’s terrain. The bottom of the frame includes a three-dimensional model of the moon, while the back bears the well-known phrase, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Additionally, it comes with an embedded audio file that is unlocked upon purchase.
However, the release of this NFT is in conflict with NASA’s Regulations on Merchandising Requests and Media Usage Guidelines. These regulations strictly prohibit the use of NASA’s intellectual property in NFTs. Although publicly available images such as the Buzz Aldrin photograph can be freely used, NASA reserves the right to approve or deny requests involving their use on merchandise. Notably, the agency explicitly states its disapproval of NFTs associated with its images and is currently rejecting any merchandising applications related to NFTs.
Melania Trump’s NFT drop was done in collaboration with USA Memorabilia, a prominent NFT platform specializing in United States memorabilia. It seems that neither the former first lady nor the NFT platform consulted with NASA, leading to the violation of the agency’s regulations.
The release of this NFT has sparked discussions within the NFT and cryptocurrency communities as observers eagerly anticipate NASA’s response to the violation. It remains uncertain whether NASA will take legal action against Melania Trump. According to reports, a NASA attorney previously expressed a preference for resolving such issues through informal conversations, although the agency does have the ability to issue cease-and-desist letters.
Melania Trump, like her husband former US President Donald Trump, has been actively involved in the NFT space in recent weeks. Notably, she introduced a collection called the “1776 Collection,” which commemorates significant moments in American history, signaling her interest and engagement with digital collectibles.
As the situation unfolds, many will be watching to see how NASA addresses this violation of their regulations, and whether Melania Trump’s NFT drop will have any lasting consequences for her and the NFT platform involved.