Moon Real Estate: Whose Got a Piece of the Cheese?

It looks like moon real estate is up for sale. A company called Lunar Embassy has been selling plots on our closest neighbor and seems to be making some serious coin doing it. There has been much talk about private enterprise surpassing NASA’s limited budget missions including space trips for wealthy civilians for hundreds of thousands of dollars per ride, mining asteroids and down the line, actually vacationing on the moon. All of these scenarios are in the planning stages getting closer and closer to reality. This could very well be why such an organization is reaping in the big bucks. Is this just another case of selling the Brooklyn Bridge to a bunch of wide eyed Indians or could people actually get a piece of the cheese?

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967

In 1967 the U.S., U.K. and Soviet Union offered a space law treaty that would cover everyone’s ass in space. It basically stated that no nuclear weapon orbits, maneuvers or bases were to be installed and no government claim any celestial resource, such as space, the moon or a planet, leaving it the “common heritage of mankind”. The document, now referred to as The Outer Space Treaty was originally named, ‘Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies’. It has already been signed by 100 countries with 26 still wavering on ratifying their signature.

Loophole Hope

Dennis Hope is the founder of Lunar Embassy and he has already sold moon real estate to over 300,000 people for $27 per acre. He is making a killing due to a loophole in The Outer Space Treaty. The treaty states that no government shall claim the moon (a celestial resource) but it does not say anything about private ownership. Therefore, he is raking it in from thousands of people who do not mind plunking down a nominal fee for the possibility of owning such a prestigious piece of land. However, they could all be a bunch of dopes, throwing away their money. After all, if it ever comes down to it, how is Hope going to secure his sold moon plots?

Not So Fast

It turns out that Dennis Hope and his Lunar Embassy may have some competition. Martin Juergens of Germany says that he owns the moon since it was given to his family as a gift by none other than Alexander the Great in 1756. He claims that, “Frederick decreed that the moon would remain in my family’s possession for ever, and should be passed on to the youngest born son” Juergens has threatened legal action. Hope says that he has no paperwork to document his claim.

Either way, moon real estate is a completely unknown realm. On one hand, it sounds like the making of charlatans while on the other hand, one has to wonder if any of these space purveyors will prevail.

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