With U.S. real estate prices falling and NASA’s Phoenix mission successfully landing on Mars, this may be the perfect time to turn our attention to lunar real estate. An article this month in Popular Mechanics discusses why owning your own lunar real estate may not be totally out of the question. Although the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that was ratified by 62 countries restricted any country from claiming territory in outer space, it did not restrict private or corporate ownership. The proposed 1980 Moon Treaty would have banned private property ownership of the moon, but it was never ratified by the U.S. As a result, it is generally accepted that claims of private property on the moon would be recognized. Effective use of unclaimed land has historically been used to establish ownership, so a corporation that established a base on the moon could claim legal precedence if a dispute arose.. Even if someone sent robots on their behalf, they could make a valid claim based on the legal precedence of ownership of salvaged ships being granted to individuals who discovered them with robotic submarines.
You can buy lunar property with a prime view of Earth from the Lunar Embassy’s website. For just $24 plus shipping, you can receive the deed to an acre of land on the moon. Dennis Hope, founder of the Lunar Embassy, says he has sold 500 million acres, although this is questionable when you see how bad the website is. A deed from the Embassy includes a declaration of ownership filed with the U.S,
This could create a legal battle between individuals with a lunar deed and corporations who have actually landed on the moon. These individuals could extort corporations for a share of their profits, similar to people who buy Internet domains and wait until a company is willing to pay for rights to it. There are several private expeditions underway to land a robot on the moon and claim a $30 million dollar prize offered by Google. This seems to be a better investment than buying property through Lunar Embassy.
Image courtesy of Bluedharma