UNISPACE I (August 1968): Progress in space exploration, international cooperation and creating an "expert on space applications" within UNOOSA. By that token, the moon became something of a “global commons” legally accessible to all countries – two years prior to the first actual manned moon landing. One could argue that the United States owns the moon, after all we mounted our flag on its surface first. There is currently no law governing property ownership or protection of our planet’s only moon. But some important underlying issues are not. Well individuals have been professing to possess the moon for as far back as several years.So who owns the moon? There was a problem. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty provides the foundation for space law. It started in the 1970s when Hope was freshly divorced and quickly running out of money. On Nov. 22, 1980, the businessman filed a declaration of ownership for the moon with the United Nations, but never received a reply, which he believed to indicate that he’d succeeded. In 2007, China received international condemnation fordeliberately destroying a satellite in Earth orbit, which led to a cloud of space debris. Most importantly, that answer was enshrined in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, to which both the United States and the Soviet Union as well as all other space-faring nations, had become a party. But experts disagree. But it’s unclear what will happen to these properties if the case finds itself in court in the future. Then there's the GoogleLunar X Prize, a $30 million competition for the first privately fundedteam to send a robot to the moon, travel some 1,640 … “I don’t see a loophole,” Ram Jakhu, law professor at the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University in Montreal, told Stephen Ornes in Discover Magazine. Dennis Hope, 66, claims to own the moon and has made more than $10million selling acres of it since 1980 A businessman claiming to sell acres … No one owns the moon. Hope has also claimed ownership of Mars, Venus, Mercury, and one of Jupiter’s moons and said that he doesn’t “sell in other planets because [he] can’t find maps of them to carve out subdivisions.”. No one owns the moon. Better still, it could be brimming over with helium-3, an isotope prized for its potential uses in nuclear fusion . is another step beyond "Who owns the land?" Meet the Man Who Owns the Moon A loophole in a United Nations charter has allowed Dennis Hope to sell plots on the moon for more than 30 years. This is mostly regulated by country. To support the Outer Space Treaty, four other treaties were put into place in the 1960s and 1970s to support peaceful space exploration. When people hear for the first time that I am a lawyer practicing and teaching something called “space law,” the question they ask most frequently, often with a big smile or a twinkle in the eye, is: “So tell me, who owns the moon?” NY 10036. On the other hand, countries such as Russia and somewhat less explicitly Brazil and Belgium hold that … No country owns the moon. While this makes resource hunting legal for U.S. citizens, some experts have said this could violate the Outer Space Treaty. No one can own any property in outer space.”, Joanna Gabrynowiczi, a research professor and director at the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law, told us that it’s “clear that any nation that is a signatory to the Outer Space Treaty can not appropriate the moon. Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction are not allowed in Earth orbit, on celestial bodies or in other outer-space locations. The Extraterrestrial Passport and Nationality, the businessman filed a declaration of ownership for the moon with the United Nations. As you would expect, the topic of ownership of land on the Moon is legally, politically, economically and technically complex. Space debris. And just because the U.S. or U.N. never responded to this person's letter, that does not mean that he automatically became the owner of the Moon and the other planets. By that token, the moon became something of a “global commons” legally accessible to all countries – two years prior to the first actual manned moon landing. You will receive a verification email shortly. These claims are, sadly, false. President Ronald Reagan first announced it in 1983 by. This (marginally ninkompoopish) notion all begins with a 1967 legal document known as the Outer Space Treaty. UNISPACE II/UNISPACE 82 (August 1982): Peaceful exploration of space (specifically, how to avoid an arms race). Filmmaker Simon Ennis has been working on Hope’s story for the documentary “Lunarcy!” scheduled to air on EPIX on April 3. These people claim that due to their ancestors having transferred ownership for … Individual nations (states) are responsible for any damage their space objects cause. That ’s very clear in the U.N. treaty. So far, no paperwork has come to light supporting Mr. Juergens's claim [source: CNN ]. In 2013, a piece of that debris damaged a Russian satellite. Nations agreeing to work together on a space project can experience problems from time to time. ... Any suggestion that the moon might become, legally speaking, part of US backwaters might fuel such concerns, and possibly give rise to international disputes harmful to both the US space program and US interests as a whole. “no nation by appropriation shall have sovereignty or control over any of the satellite bodies,” yet the document never mentions individuals. In 1960, the International Institute of Space Law, a nongovernmental organization, was created to promote international cooperation in the space law-making process. Thus, all activities would conform to international law, including the United Nations Charter. A Space Lawyer Answers. (So, nobody owns the moon.). By that token, the moon became something of a “global commons” legally accessible to all countries – two years prior to the first actual manned moon landing. See generally: Imperialism and colonization of the new world. Only less than a century ago, back on Earth, planting a national flag in another part of the world still amounted to claiming that territory for the fatherland. For those who knew their world history, it also rang some alarm bells. But it’s unclear what will happen to these properties if the case finds itself in court in the future. That ’s very clear in the U.N. treaty. Thus, all activities would conform to international law, including the United Nations Charter. The Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984 covers launch situations by U.S. citizens. The field of space law evolved to deal with questions such as property rights, weapons in space, protection of astronauts and other matters. As of mid-2016, it has 77 members, including major space-faring nations such as the United States (NASA), Russia (Roscosmos), Japan, China, Canada, Brazil, Australia and the member states of the European Space Agency. These slots are limited and are regulated by the International Telecommunication Union. W hen Neil Armstrong planted an American flag on the moon, the U.S. wasn’t actually staking a claim on the celestial orb. The most major international project, the International Space Station, has an international treaty (and various other provisions) governing its operations among the 15 member nations, covering situations such as crimes or proprietary rights. The real estate company currently has two full-time employees, 27 resellers and six ambassadors. 23/07/2018 Frans von der Dunk. Uncrewed rockets heading for space and high altitudes must receive special permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) underFAA Regulation 101. By that token, the moon became something of a “global commons” legally accessible to all countries – two years prior to the first actual manned moon landing. So even if you have lots of certificates from the Lunar Embassy or a similar site, Finkelstein said, those claims will never be recognized. Space activities must be for the benefit of all nations and humans. China and Canada have each prosecuted an individual trying to sell lunar plots. By that token, the moon became something of a “global commons” legally accessible to all countries – two years prior to the first actual manned moon landing. Everyone and no one.” Space Law Open to Interpretation Credit: Niall Carson/PA Whether you're into mining, energy or … About; Credits; Fifty years after the Apollo 11 mission, the field of outer-space law is growing. Perhaps the most famous effort at putting weapons into space was the United States' Strategic Defense Initiative, sometimes nicknamed "Star Wars." But the Outer Space Treaty leaves many details unsettled. International cooperation. Also, national priorities change over time, and those priorities may not be reflected in treaties that were created decades ago. The price per unit is $124.95. For those who knew their world history, it also rang some alarm bells. When Neil Armstrong planted the American flag on the Moon in 1969, there was panic over the legal and political implications. While property rights on the Moon sit in a legally blurry area, the rights to exploit or mine materials is a whole different ball game. Some people have called him a con artist. The legal status of the Moon states that all the countries can have access to the Moon for peaceful missions. © The question of "Who owns the mineral rights?" Ultimately, Who Owns the Moon! The area is then colored in red to illustrate that it’s no longer available and the owner is provided with images of their, Some of these owners have big future plans for their properties, including, a golf course, he says, which will get tricky, because, “even a one-degree pitch would send the ball into outer space.”, The Lunar Embassy does not sell properties near historical landmarks,and Hope told us that he. But some important underlying issues are not. By Leonard David 10 December 2008. You need a government to recognize land ownership. Space is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Extraterrestrial real estate refers to claims of land ownership on other planets, natural satellites, or parts of space by certain organizations or individuals. These treaties (referred to below by their nicknames) are: COPUOUS has also created five sets of principles to support these treaties. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty provides the foundation for space law. There is currently no law governing property ownership or protection of our planet’s only moon. Most likely, this is the best-known picture of a flag ever taken: Buzz Aldrin standing next to the first U.S. flag planted on the Moon. The moon, for example, is a land flowing with milk and honey -- if by "milk" and "honey" you mean oxygen, water and prospective sources of fuel and construction materials. This allows them to remain in approximately the same location above Earth for years while expending a minimum of fuel, making them useful for telecommunications signals. Martin Juergens of Germany asserts that his family has owned the moon since Prussian monarch Frederick the Great bequeathed it to them in the 18th century. Weapons in space. As soon as humans reached for the stars, some reached for the law books. Who owns any planet/moon/asteroid or whatever should be answered by, "no one", but at the same time, any probe, colonization platform, or spacecraft should be owned by whoever put it there. And because governments can’t control land on the moon, individuals can’t own land on the moon. This is what each conference focused on or will focus on: It should be emphasized again that the U.N. treaties are nonbinding, but there is a sort of international pressure by other nations when a nation strays from the principles. 25 Answers. In 2015, the United States passed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which in a nutshell allows for U.S. citizens to exploit asteroids and other space resources, but not the land on which the resources sit. © 2021 Lunar Embassy. Who legally owns the moon? But with nations talking about landing on places such as the moon and Mars, it is unclear how the exploitation rights and the property rights would work in the case of adjacent colonies. Everyone and no one.” Space Law Open to Interpretation Credit: Niall Carson/PA Whether you're into mining, energy or … About; Credits; Fifty years after the Apollo 11 mission, the field of outer-space law is growing. Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction are not allowed in Earth orbit, on celestial bodies or in other outer-space locations. The moon has been in plain view for all of human history, but it's only within the past few decades that it's been possible to travel there. Today, several universities worldwide offer programs and degrees in space law. Nobody owns the moon. (A fourth one will take place in 2018.) As you would expect, the topic of ownership of land on the Moon is legally, politically, economically and technically complex. More recently, entrepreneur Dennis Hope, declared himself to be the owner of the Moon. These states must also "avoid harmful contamination" due to space activities. One acre of lunar property can be purchased for $19.99, plus $10 in shipping and handling, $1.51 in planetary and lunar tax and $2.50 for a copy of the official certificate of ownership. Who Legally Owns the Moon. Parts of the system were tested on Earth, but it was never completed. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer, describes this committee as the "focal point", Vienna Declaration on Space and Human Development, Office of Commercial Space Transportation, half a million dead objects floating in Earth orbit, deliberately destroying a satellite in Earth orbit, piece of that debris damaged a Russian satellite, passed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, this could violate the Outer Space Treaty, withdraw from the European-led ExoMars project, has an international treaty (and various other provisions), SpaceX delays launch of 143 satellites on a single rocket due to bad weather, On This Day in Space! While in my view the former position certainly would make more sense, both legally and practically, the legal battle by no means is over. " By Jason Koebler , … Some of these owners have big future plans for their properties, including a golf course, he says, which will get tricky, because “even a one-degree pitch would send the ball into outer space.” The Lunar Embassy does not sell properties near historical landmarks,and Hope told us that he turned down a $50 million offer last year from someone who wanted to buy the entire northern region of the moon. By Jason Koebler , … Both superpowers agreed that “colonization” on Earth had been responsible for tremendous human suffering and many armed conflicts that had raged over the last centuries. Legal commentators are hopeful that states will remain loyal to the treaty and refrain from recognising or endorsing a private property claim. Who owns the moon? Indeed, there is strong precedent in human history for nation-states making such claims. Meet the Man Who Owns the Moon A loophole in a United Nations charter has allowed Dennis Hope to sell plots on the moon for more than 30 years. No single person owns the Moon, regardless of whether that person sent a letter to the President of the United States or the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Mining rights. He calls other similar companies “criminals” for trying to sell properties that they do not own and compares his outer space acquisitions to kings in the 1500s who claimed lands before even going there. The Moon, like the high seas, is a global commons.”. “The moon is a common property of the international community, so individuals and states cannot own it. In 2012, for example, a NASA planetary science budget cut led NASA to withdraw from the European-led ExoMars project, forcing the European Space Agency to seek another partner (which ended up being Roscosmos). In 2001, Hope set up the Galactic Government. 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