Property on the Moon?

Times and times again, you read about the possibility to purchase lunar property. Is this to be taken seriously or more of a gimmick or a clever sales idea? If looked at more closely, some astonishing details are coming to light …

When the manned space flight started in the 60s and a trip to the Moon became more likely, nations tried to regulate the topic such as ownership in space, and created an »Outer Space Treaty« in 1967,  which prohibits states to use space or its celestial bodies for self-serving or military purposes. This treaty was signed by 98 states, amongst them the superpowers, at the time USA and Soviet Union.

However, there is a legal loophole, as the treaty is only valid for governments of the respective state and not for private or company use. Even the later created »Moon Treaty« (1979/1984) did not close this loophole, because it was only signed by 10 states. This is how the resourceful American Dennis Hope announced his claim to the Moon with his company »Lunar Embassy«. He had the title of the Moon registered at the land registry of San Francisco and informed the United Nations about his action. After eight years and no objection by anyone, by an old American law, the land goes automatically to the applicant. This is how Dennis Hope claims his rights to the Moon (and meanwhile also to Mars and Venus), and has been selling property since, to everyone and to companies, which again trade it under their own name.

Of course, it is absurd, because nobody can own the Moon. Still, Dennis Hope managed to make use of this legal loophole and developed a business idea to at least sell the illusion to buyers of extraterrestrial properties, so they can call something their own somewhere out there.

Whether any of the »owners« will ever set foot onto their property is quite another story. This should be particularly difficult with Venus, as it is quite hostile to life and hot (average of 867 °F).

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