Contrary to the very optimistic assumptions made at the time, so far humankind has not returned to the moon since 1972, making lunar land rights largely theoretical. Who Owns the Moon? Even if you could imagine owning the moon, you might think it would be a whole country who owned the moon. Everyone and no one.” Space Law Open to Interpretation — Martin Juergens from Germany claims that the Moon has belonged to his family since July 15, 1756, when the Prussian king Frederick the Great presented it to his ancestor Aul Juergens as a symbolic gesture of gratitude for services rendered, and decreed that it should pass to the youngest born son. Who owns the Moon as per the Outer Space Treaty? autoPlay: false, According to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the exploration and use of space shall be carried out in the interests of all countries: outer space is the "province of all mankind". Conference, Victoria, Copyright © 2010–2021, The Conversation Media Group Ltd. NASA Lunar Sample Return Container with moon soil on display in a vault at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. 50 years after the first Moon landing, humanity is getting ready to go back. If yes, then who touched the moon first. Lunar Mining: Will it someday be possible to mine mineral resources on the Moon, other planets or an asteroid and … Moon Express is one of those companies, and founder Bob Richards wants to eventually mine the lunar surface for minerals to send back to Earth and water to convert to rocket fuel. As part of the Apollo 14 mission, Alan Shepard was the fifth, and oldest, person to walk on the Moon. One of the most publicised example is Dennis Hope's Moon real estate company Lunar Embassy. videoOptions: { The new agreement advances the original Outer Space Treaty with further articles, such as: However, as of 2019, only 18 nations have signed up to the Moon Treaty with very few of them being spacefaring countries. Who Owns the Moon? | Space Law & Outer Space Treaties. Declaring that the Moon and its natural resources are the "common heritage of mankind", and that no state or organisation can claim to 'own' the resources available on the Moon. Obviously, the astronauts had more important things on their mind than contemplating the legal meaning and consequences of that planted flag, but luckily the issue had been taken care of prior to the mission. “It’s a great question,” said Richards. Instead of focusing on who owns the moon, the international community needs find ways to incentivize future business activity on the moon by guaranteeing that rights to … Who Really Owns The Moon? Who Owns the Moon? States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies. Example of a Lunar Deed (Wikimedia Commons). Since the 1980s, he claims he has sold more than 611 million acres of land on the Moon. "According to the Outer Space Treaty, no country can lay claim to a celestial body. The moon “is simply one more landmass over an alternate sort of ocean,” he said. This is a major debate currently raging in the international community, with no unequivocally accepted solution in sight yet. wistiaPlaylist = Wistia.playlist("2tcf761s5a", { No one can own any property in outer space.” Any suggestion that the moon might become, legally speaking, part of U.S. backwaters might fuel such concerns, and possibly give rise to international disputes harmful to both the U.S. space program and U.S. interests as a whole. volumeControl: true, Follow. However, in 2019, what is believed to be the first allegation of a crime committed in space occurred. While the legal status of the Moon as a “global commons” accessible to all countries on peaceful missions did not meet any substantial resistance or challenge, the Outer Space Treaty left further details unsettled. Send $24.99 to the Lunar Embassy, and it will send you a certificate for one acre. It’s a bit like the regime originally established for harvesting mineral resources from the deep seabed. None of them can become the “territory” of one sovereign state or another. Does that mean that an individual or a company can? Author. Saskia Vermeylen, Lancaster University. Who Owns The Moon? In 1996, German citizen Martin Juergens declared that the Moon belonged to his family, claiming that it had been presented to his ancestors in 1756 by Prussian King Frederick the Great as a gift of service. For those who knew their world history, it also rang some alarm bells. Does any country, company, or individual have the right to own celestial bodies or their minerals? By comparison, the International Law of the Sea Treaty — the set of rules governing the use of the world's oceans — contains over 300 articles. Table of contents (9 chapters) Believing that he had found a loophole in the Outer Space Treaty, Hope started selling plots on the Moon for $25 per acre. While the fine was meant as a light-hearted joke, it did arguably have legal justification. At the lunar module landing site, Shepard attached a 6-iron golf club head on to a rock sample tool. Who Is Dennis Hope? Moon Express is the first private organization. It was claimed she had illegally accessed the financial information of her estranged wife while living aboard the International Space Station. For those who knew their world history, it also rang some alarm bells. No one owns the moon. OSIRIS-REx will travel to a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu and bring a small sample back to Earth for study. Businessman Rajzeev V. Baagree, who purchased five acres of land on the moon for 1,400 rupees (equivalent to US$31 in 2005) per acre, poses next to documents of proof, at his home in Hyderabad, India. “The answer is a bit of a contradiction. The Outer Space Treaty is a list of guiding principles determining what nations can and cannot do in space. Space, like the open ocean, is considered "res nullius", meaning it belongs to no one. However, experts in space law have argued that if nation states cannot lay claim to outer space, then by implication neither can citizens or businesses of that state. These relate to astronaut rescue, liability for damage caused by objects in space, and registration of objects launched into space. They were determined not to repeat that mistake of the old European colonial powers when it came to decide on the legal status of the moon; at least the possibility of a “land grab” in outer space giving rise to another world war was to be avoided. 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. While there have not been any actual crimes reported in space, there have been minor misdemeanours. Frans von der Dunk has a consultancy addressing issues of space law and policy. The Outer Space Treaty means therefore that - no matter, The exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all nations and shall be the province of all humankind, Outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all countries, Outer space is not subject to national appropriation or ownership, States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in outer space, The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, Astronauts are regarded as representatives of humanity by all nations, and shall be given all possible assistance in the event of accident or emergency, States shall be responsible for national space activities, whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities, States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects, States shall retain ownership and jurisdiction over any object they launch into outer space. — On 11 July 1979 the world's first space station. Future public sector leaders' series 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. Who Owns The Moon? When the Skylab investigation team visited the site to collect the debris, they were handed a $400 fine for littering. since, they wore space suits thus there was a material between their skin and moon. The document is just 17 short articles in length. Who Owns the Moon? While in my view the former position certainly would make more sense, both legally and practically, the legal battle by no means is over. The reality is much different though. The Outer Space Treaty means therefore that - no matter whose national flags are planted on the lunar surface - no nation can 'own' the Moon. In the midst of the Cold War, this even included scientists from the Soviet Union. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Whether you're into mining, energy or … Comments. The U.N. never responded, and so Hope just started selling the land. Saskia Vermeylen Senior Lecturer, Lancaster … Who owns the moon? investigation team visited the site to collect the debris, they were handed a $400 fine for littering. No need for me to prepare University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s space law students for further discussions and disputes on the lunar law, right? On the 30th anniversary of Skylab's re-entry, the fine was finally paid on behalf of NASA by an American radio station. Not surprisingly, no action has been taken by either government. As stated in article 7 of the Outer Space Treaty: "States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects.". Numerous national space agencies, including that of China, India, and Japan, and even good old NASA, are conducting or planning unmanned as well as manned Moon … Anyone can enjoy looking at the Moon, but can anybody claim to 'own' it? Meanwhile, the interest in the moon has been renewed as well – at least China, India and Japan have serious plans to go back there, raising the stakes even higher. China, the USA and Russia have not signed the agreement. by Saskia Vermeylen, The Conversation. A Space Lawyer Answers. Lets Meet the Man Who Owns the Moon. However, debris which hadn't wholly disintegrated scattered in part across a sparsely populated area of western Australia. Life ... Today, the estimated value of the moon’s natural resources runs into billions, trillions or quadrillions depending on who you ask – and companies are lining up to be the first to harvest the moon – perhaps within the next decade. Roughly, there are two general interpretations possible. version: "v1", In August 2019, the New York Times reported that NASA was investigating US astronaut Anne McClain. The very fundamental prohibition under the Outer Space Treaty to acquire new state territory, by planting a flag or by any other means, failed to address the commercial exploitation of natural resources on the moon and other celestial bodies. Don’t forget to ask for a receipt. By Jason Koebler , … So, who owns the moon? Frans von der Dunk 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. Marking the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s ‘small step’ this beautiful... and tags, as close as possible to the opening tag. As space is not owned, the question as to which country's authority and jurisdiction applies when a crime has been committed has no simple answer. The Moon is sexy again.
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