Being a die-hard science fiction fan, I struggle every day to pry my mind away from thoughts of outer space, interstellar travel and futuristic worlds, to focus on my real estate work. The subject matter really consumes me. I started wondering the other day, who really owns the moon — and outer space, for that matter?
- The United Nations has had an Outer Space Treaty since 1967.
- However, one guy found a loophole in the treaty, and he sells one-acre moon lots -- plus a lunar tax, of course.
- No matter what holds up when we actually colonize the moon (fingers crossed), agents will definitely be needed to figure it all out.
Being a die-hard science fiction fan, I struggle every day to pry my mind away from thoughts of outer space, interstellar travel and futuristic worlds, to focus on my real estate work.
The subject matter really consumes me. I started wondering the other day, who really owns the moon — and outer space, for that matter? Having been in the real estate business in excess of 20 years, I could not help but try and mingle, my passions, real estate and science fiction together and see what comes out on the other end.
Take this short journey with me
As I began to ponder real estate and the moon, I came to find that the international community has actually pondered this for many years as well.
In fact, the United Nations, in 1967, sponsored the Outer Space Treaty. This established all planets, moons, celestial bodies and open space as an “international commons” and “for the good of all mankind.”
This is for real. Seriously. Click here to read some of the actual text of the treaty. As of today, 102 countries have ratified this treaty.
But this does not stop those who believe all of the world, and the universe for that matter, are open ownership to anyone who claims it. There are private groups that have and continue to offer portions of the moon for sale, and in some cases, these groups have sold “lunar deeds.”
Some of these deeds have reportedly made their way — notarized, of course — to certain county recorder’s offices for recordation. As you might imagine, they were returned to sender, and such grants have been deemed a novelty.
Who is going to tell me I can’t own a piece of the moon?
One guy found a loophole in the 1967 treaty. The treaty covers governments, but not individuals, and he has been exploiting that for some time. As of a couple years ago, he had sold over 611 million acres of 1-acre moon lots.
He fetches $19.95 per acre, but wait — there’s a “lunar tax” on that for a total of $36.50 per acre. Get this: He also reportedly has sold moon plots to three former U.S. presidents.
There have been various legal claims that have been made by other individuals for ownership of the moon. These people claim that due to their ancestors having transferred ownership for over 250 years down through their familial trees, they are first in time and have complete ownership in the moon.
Call it a fee of simple interest, I suppose, to the exclusion of all others. Where some people can determine where their family tree was planted — maybe by aliens and flying saucers — it seems those legal claims will remain difficult to prove.
This might seem like a novelty, but he never did hear back from the United Nations on his question about whether the treaty covers individuals.
The future of the moon
Although this whole concept might seem like science fiction, ponder this dilemma for our future. There might be a time when we begin to colonize the moon.
When this occurs, you know as well as I do that people will begin to position themselves for ownership of certain areas on that orb in the sky, be it one company building a factory on it, another company building habitats on it, various mining operations.
These companies or people will demand certain protections for the land that rests underneath their expensive capital investments.
And then the real estate side of this science fiction equation might see its day in court.
Jay Lieberman is a Broker Associate at Keller Williams World Class. You can reach him on Twitter @LiebermanJay or on Facebook at JayMichelleRealEstate.