The moon has fascinated mankind since we first crawled out the ocean. There is evidence that suggests man was using the moon as the basis for the oldest calendars, dating back as far as 30 000 years. Ever since Neil Armstrong took those first fateful steps on the spherical hunk of rock, we have wondered about what opportunities lie within.
But who owns the moon? According to the United Nations’ Outer Space Treaty, all of outer space is an ‘international commons’ and a ‘province for all mankind’. More importantly, the treaty forbids any state from claiming territorial sovereignty. 62 countries, including all those that have achieved space flight, have signed the treaty. So it would appear that most agree that the moon shouldn’t belong to any one nation.
However, the more recent Moon Treaty revealed the true colours of these space-faring nations. Basically a follow up of the Outer Space Treaty, the Moon Treaty bans, amongst other things, any military use (including weapon testing and military bases), any resource extraction by any one state and bans any commercial activity on the moon. Interestingly enough, of the 13 countries that have signed the treaty, none of them are space nations.
Taking that into account, it is safe to assume that property rights on the moon are still up for international debate. Rather unsurprisingly, an American by the name of Dennis Hope has taken advantage of this debacle. Hope is the founder and owner of the Lunar Embassy Corporation, the self-professed ‘leaders of extra-terrestrial real estate market’. Hope’s company has sold real estate on the moon to over 3.7 million people for around US$ 20 per acre. Apparently he allocates the land by closing his eyes and pointing at a map of the moon. Interestingly, Hope has not hired any estate agents.
Hope is also an upstanding man. He actually wrote to the United Nations stating that he was going to sell lunar property. Hope waited patiently for their response and when there wasn’t any objection, only then did he hatch his plan. Even though the ownerships claims are dubious at best, this clearly illustrates the demand for property on the moon. If the prospect of lunar property tickles your fancy, you can purchase your spot here.
Hope is currently attempting to form the Galactic Government which will function as an autonomous moon government, complete with its own currency named the ‘Delta’. If successful, the land claims Hope has sold may yet be legitimised.
Either way, you may not be too far away from purchasing that bachelor flat in Lunar Lane with a panoramic view of the Sea of Tranquillity.
Taking the kids to school in this could prove to be quite interesting...