Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Owning Real Estate on the Moon

This is an excerpt from a recent BBC news article that made me wonder why I'm not busy selling someone a bridge on Betelgeuse 5:

From his office in Nevada, entrepreneur Dennis Hope has spawned a multi-million-dollar property business selling plots of lunar real estate at $20 (£10) an acre.

Mr Hope exploited a loophole in the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and he has been claiming ownership of the Earth's Moon - and seven planets and their moons - for more than 20 years.

These are "truly unowned lands", he says. "We're doing exactly what our forefathers did when they came to the New World from the European continent."

Hope says he has so far sold more than 400 million acres (1.6 million sq km), leaving a further eight billion acres still up for grabs.

Buyers include Hollywood stars, large corporations - including the Hilton and Marriot hotel chains - and even former US presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. George W Bush is also said to be a stake holder.

Mr Hope claims to be selling 1,500 lunar properties a day. He allocates land by simply closing his eyes and pointing to a map of the Moon.

No government has yet recognised the lunar sales as legally binding"It's not very scientific but it's kinda fun," he says. It is fun that has already made him $9m (£4.5m).

Well, I simply don't know whether to be more flabbergasted at this guy's arrogance or amused at his powers of entrepreneurship. A little from Column A and a little from Column B I think....

The article goes on to say that no actual world government recognizes his claim as legally binding, so if you go ahead and buy an acre on the Moon (and usually I'd say that twenty dollars for that amount of real estate is a smart buy even if it's uniformally grey and EVEN if the commute to the summer cottage IS rather laborious what with the cost of rocketship fuel and all nowadays )--- just know that you won't be able to claim the mineral rights to your little patch of moon dust. Apparently the US government (among others) has plans regarding that. Big plans.

It reminds me of that sticker I've seen around down on some redneck-around-town's bumper: EARTH FIRST: WE'LL LOG THE OTHER PLANETS LATER.

I was just at a party the other night where one of the topics tossed about between the cutest teensy little bottles of fruit liqueur was whether or not the Americans really landed on the moon or whether it was all a big hoax to uh, I dunno, annoy the Russians during the Cold War era.

Some of my dearest friends have a charming conspiracy-theory streak a mile wide. They said they had seen/heard/read on the internet some fairly compelling evidence that seemed to back their suspicions. I've read some things too---about suspicious identical rocks in photographs and about flags rippling in the breeze of a place with no wind and of mysterious accidents happening to people who could have leaked to the media. It all seemed rather compelling under the warm influence of German Sour Apple-flavoured alcohol.

Then again I've also heard and read plenty of scientific material which neatly rebuts all the hoax evidence. Deep down, I'm pretty sure the Russians wouldn't have let the Americans get away with claiming all the thunder if it wasn't so. Spider Girl is thinking the moon landing was two parts marvellous technological accomplishment and one part expensive testosterone-fuelled Cold War-inspired ego trip.

What do YOU think? Any NASA employees out there for comment? (Hey, would you get a discount on moon properties if you worked for NASA, ya think?) Any conspiracy theorists out there?

Well, back to land ownership of the solar-system....

Here are some historical dates pertaining to the subject that I borrowed straight from Wikipedia for your elucidation. I like the one where lunar property rights come in your box of cereal.:

In 1937, A.D.Lindsay of Ocilla, Georgia claimed all “planets, islands-of-space or other matter” in the Universe as his property.

In the 1940s, people were enquiring with the US Bureau of Land Management for lunar homesteads.

In 1948, James Thomas Mangan of Chicago proclaimed himself First Representative of the Nation of Celestial Space and envisaged selling “parcels of space” to interested buyers.

In the 1950s, deeds for square inches of lunar property were offered as premiums with morning cereals.

In 1952, a Science Fiction club in Berkeley, California claimed a triangular area on the Moon with the United Nations.

In 1953, Jenaro Gajardo Vera of Chile lodged the first Latin American claim to the Moon.

In 1955, Crater Copernicus was parceled by Robert R. Coles, the CEO of the Interplanetary Development Corporation, much to the chagrin of New York State Attorney General’s office.
Japan entered the extraterrestrial real estate business in 1956.

In 1957, a Le Mars, Iowa newspaper gave its readers deeds to lunar farms.

In the 1960s, the Moon and Venus were officially annexed by several municipalities. Deer Park, Texas claimed planet Venus, while Oklahoma City and Geneva, Ohio expanded their boundaries with the Moon.

In 1969, a man in Brazil was arrested for selling lunar real estate.

In the 1970s, Barry McArdle of Berkeley criss-crossed America “selling” the Moon in the mode of the traveling medicine show performer.

In 1974, land on Mercury was "sold" by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific as a fund raising ploy.

In 1980, the American Dennis Hope starts his own business, claiming to have found a loophole in international law allowing him to claim full sovereignty of the moon. He was the first to sell lunar deeds (also on the Internet) after sending off declarations to the US, (then) Soviet and UN governments. Hope has so far made $9 million off his business, claiming to sell 1,500 lunar properties a day at $20 an acre. He allocates land to be sold by closing his eyes and randomly pointing to a map of the Moon.

In 1982, newborn Prince William and Kermit the Frog were given complimentary “Martian Land” packages, courtesy of Fiske Planetarium’s David Aguilar.

In 1997, three men in Yemen sued NASA for landing on their inheritance – planet Mars.

In 1998, Mars was claimed by the Western Federation Church and Tribe, who plan to terraform it, provided there is no indigenous life.

In 1999, The Lunar Registry was founded, like the Lunar Embassy, to sell real estate on the Moon.

In 2000, Russ Wylie founded, a humoristic approach outlining the importance of “owning” Uranus.

In 2001, Orbital Development invoiced NASA for having landed a probe on asteroid Eros, and a legal battle ensues.

In 2001, Virgiliu Poplodged a tongue-in-cheek claim for the Sun with the Archimedes Institute.

In 2002, Anthony M Grasso incorporated the Lunar Federation Inc , according to Articles of Incorporation of the State of Florida, and entered the Moon and Mars Real Estate Business.

In 2003, Charles Wesley Faires claimed ownership of the three stars of Orion's Belt: Alnilam, Alnitak and Mintaka. The claim has been filed with a Knox County Courthouse, United States Library of Congress and the Kingdom of Swaziland, among other entities.

In 2005, Marina Bai , a Russian astrologer, sued NASA for having encroached upon her ‘holy of holies’ (the moon) by landing a probe on comet Tempel 1.

In 2007, Nicholas Yoho-Wikse filed official claim to Venus, and all space from its surface out to 333km from it to space vacuum, to be eternally his. He filed with the UN and the International Court of Justice (a court of planet earth states)...he pledged to share it however as it was such a large amount of space to deal with...he declared soon after the proposed motto of Venus to be "love reigns eternally" and expected all future inhabitants to live in this spirit of planet Venus..."earth had so far failed in this...may venus never be so..." A company called MoonEstates has also been selling plots on the Moon and Mars, which it purchased from Dennis Hope.


BostonPobble said...

Kermit the Frog and Prince William, huh? Now that's an interesting pair. (Yes, I realize that this has almost nothing to do with your post but I rarely turn down an opportunity to include Kermit in my conversations.)

Anonymous said...

Considering how difficult it is to pay property taxes here on Earth, I don't think I will be buying any outer space territory anytime soon.

Nancy said...

I too have a smile and a 'are you kidding me' thought. But some people just have to much time and money. There are plenty of dumpy places to buy here and fix them up and rent them the not so wealthy for a fair and reasonable price.

Thanks for the visit and for my 'swift recovery' wishes. I can not wait to get back to work. Being on workers comp cuts your pay dramatically, but a least i'm being paid.

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

"Get your Probe off my Holy Holy!"

What more can I say? I'm shaking my head in disbelief and horror and disappointment at the audacity of the human race. We're such arrogant little bugs, aren't we!

adman said...

I think our father could have made a fortune flipping real estate on the moon....think he'd spot me the start up capital???

[eric] said...

Re the flag flapping where there is no wind: Solar wind, anyone?

Josie said...

Heck, I can't even afford real estate here in Vancouver. It might as well be MoonEstates as far as I'm concerned.

Dinah said...

Where do they register the land? How do they know that another person doesn't already own it? This is making my head hurt.

Tigger said...

Thanks for stopping by a couple of times.. I did get your comments and now I can comment back!! Yay!!! Tawnya

Pol* said...

gaack. Arrogant little mites, poking holes in the atmoshere all the time in the name of science, progress, or to get 800 channels while we talk on our satellite phones.... sigh... not surprising. nope not at all.