Who Wields the Moon? Tocht? Asteroids?

Does any country, company, or individual have the right to own celestial bods or their minerals?

Article by: Hobart M. King, Ph.D., RPG

Lunar Mining: Will it someday be possible to mine mineral resources on the Moon, other planets or an asteroid and supply them to Earth at a profit? NASA pic.

Problems ter Determining Land Ownership

Ownership of real estate on Earth is a ingewikkeld matter. Land ownership is continuously challenged by encroachment, disagreements, physical altercations, legal disputes, and sometimes war.

People of Earth have not yet established who possesses the Arctic. Native people ter the United States, Australia, Brazil and many other countries have moral, if not legal claims to massive tracts of land. Asian nations dispute the sovereignty of islands ter the Sea of Japan, the South China Sea and other figures of water. Thesis are only three examples of the many long-standing disagreements overheen earthly real estate.

With that complexity here on Earth, how can the ownership of planets, asteroids, or their mineral rights be determined fairly?

Mining for Mission Sustainability: Long-duration missions to moons or planets may require more oxygen and water than can be transported there. Astronauts might operate puny mining and processing operations that dig up rock materials and liquidate their oxygen and moisture for human consumption. NASA pic.

The Outer Space Treaty

The very first international effort to address celestial real estate ownership wasgoed ter 1967 when the United Nations sponsored the Outer Space Treaty (formally known spil Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States te the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bods). This treaty dedicated space spil the “province of all mankind”. It prohibited any nation from claiming territory te space. The Treaty wasgoed ratified by 102 countries, including the United States and all other nations with an active space program. It is a feeble treaty because any nation can withdraw by serving one year’s notice. [1]

The Moon Treaty

Ter 1979, the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Figures (also known spil the “Moon Treaty”) wasgoed waterput forward by the United Nations. Its aim wasgoed to place control of the Moon and other celestial figures into the mitts of the international community.

Under the treaty, any use of the Moon should benefit all states and all peoples. No country should use the Moon or its resources without the approval or benefit of all nations. This is a failed treaty because it wasgoed ratified by only 16 nations, none of which have an active space program. [Two]

Space Act of 2015

Today nations and companies have hopes of mining asteroids and bringing infrequent minerals back to Earth. Others hope to establish space colonies that subsist by mining and extracting oxygen and water from the rocks of celestial figures. The question of “Who wields the mineral rights?” is another step beyond “Who wields the land?” and “Who possesses that asteroid?”.

To make thesis ventures legally possible ter the United States, the Senate passed the Space Act of 2015 (U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act) on November Ten, 2015 by unanimous consent. It passed the House of Representatives on May 21, 2015. This bill creates legal rights for United States citizens to own resources ter space, bring them back to Earth, and sell them for individual build up. It also indemnifies commercial space launches through 2025.

The bill does not include any provision for asserting sovereignty or claiming off the hook rights to any celestial bod. It is a elementary declaration that Americans will have the right to explore, samenvatting, and uitvoer the resources of other worlds. [Trio]

So, nobody will own the Moon or other celestial bods yet – at least not legally. The author’s individual opinion is that no one will mine the Moon or an asteroid, bring salable commodities back to Earth, and earn a profit on that activity ter his lifetime. The only exception would be if the government strenuously subsidizes the mission or the imported goods sell ter the collectibles or museum markets for incredible prices.

Lunar Real Estate at $20/Acre

People have bot claiming to “own the Moon” since at least 1756 when the emperor of Prussia granted the Moon to Aul Jurgens. [Four] More recently, entrepreneur Dennis Hope, proclaimed himself to be the holder of the Moon. He began selling lunar real estate and issuing deeds ter 1995 for prices of up to $20/acre (discounts given to those who by serious acreage).

Te 2013, Mr. Hope claimed to have sold overheen 600,000,000 of the Moon’s 9,000,000,000 acres. He also sells land on Toer, Venus, Mercury and other celestial bods. [Five]

Mr. Hope’s ownership of the Moon and his right to sell it might not be illegal and might not be legal – but he has bot doing it for overheen twenty years. Most people who buy his celestial properties very likely love the novelty of “wielding a lump of the moon” or providing a deed spil a gag bounty.

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