HOW TO PURCHASE PROPERTY ON THE MOON?










Published by: PALAK GUPTA



In short: No, you cannot. No one can.

How to purchase land is a question that is quite far-fetched.

What should be asked instead is that, “Can one buy land on the Moon?”


There are a couple of websites and ‘real estate’ companies that specialize in buying land on the Moon. The reason why it’s in quotes is because these transactions are pretty bogus. According to an international treaty, celestial objects are considered to be man’s heritage and no single country can own it. Therefore, going by the fact that no one owns the Moon, no one can sell it to you. You can consider these purchases as honorary ones. Or gestures, if you will. But in terms of the legal world or the real estate world, they hold no value. In fact, you can’t even engage in a re-sale because it means nothing.[1]


That doesn’t stop people from buying land on the Moon though. Aman in Rajasthan's Ajmer 'gifted' his wife a few acres of lunar land on their wedding anniversary. Dharmendra Anija said he 'bought' land on the Moon as he wanted to do something special for his wife, Sapna Anija. A few months ago, Neeraj Kumar, a resident of Bodh Gaya, had also 'bought' one-acre land on the Moon on his birthday.[2]


Sushant Singh Rajput, Shah Rukh Khan and other celebrities have also bought some parts of the Moon like many people have started doing it. Sushant's land on the moon is called the ‘Sea of Muscovy’. But we know that this is simply not possible!

So as it stands, the claims are not much more than fancy pieces of paper. This is because, in 1967, the USSR, the US and the UK came up with a treaty, called the Outer Space Treaty, to prevent "a new form of colonial competition".

In total, 109 countries have signed the Outer Space Treaty. India is included too.


What is Outer Space Treaty?

"The Outer Space Treaty" came into effect in October 10, 1967.

The Outer Space Treaty aims to prevent any possible damage that this kind of exploitation might cause. In 1967 the U.S. and the Soviet Union negotiated the Outer Space Treaty, which states that no nation can own a piece of the moon or an asteroid.

Even though it says "not subject to national appropriation by...", it does mean no person can claim it. Interestingly, the treaty refers astronauts as envoys of mankind in outer space. It clearly states that the use of outer space shall be done in the interests of all the nations.


There is, however, a The Lunar Registry which claims to sell people a piece of the Moon i.e., the landing site such as 'Bay of Rainbows', 'Sea of Rains', 'Lake of Dreams', 'Sea of Serenity' and many others.

Any person who claims to own land on the Moon through The Lunar Registry does that with the Lunar Settlement Initiative. The purchase assists Luna Society International, its partners and affiliates toward the goal of "privatized exploration, settlement and development of the Moon".


The two conditions that need to be fulfilled for buying land on the Moon and other celestial bodies are that:

1. you need to have physical possession of the land, at least for sometime,

2. you must have effective control


Some websites say that an individual can legally own land on the Moon because the treaty mentions nations, and not its citizens, However, the outer space treaty mentions that governments should be responsible for activities in outer space in their nation no matter who carries out those activities.

According to the treaty, Governments must also ensure "that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present Treaty".[3]


Man, who sold Lunar Land:

Dennis M. Hope is an American man who did just that and is now planet overlord of the moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Io (one of Jupiter's moons). Dennis happened to be broke when he started collecting planets and worked out a way to monetize his new hobby: claim legal ownership via the UN, subdivide his extraterrestrial land and sell it off in chunks. It's probably about the best business model I've ever heard of (besides Ponzi schemes, obviously—those things are golden), which may be why Dennis has been able to use the celestial-property game as his sole source of income since 1995.


He made international news when he revealed that after exploiting a loophole in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, he had become the sole owner of our nearest celestial neighbour, the Moon. Since then, Hope has made a small fortune selling off pieces of the satellite’s surface. While the media has mostly painted Hope as a harmless eccentric, if you study his story a little more closely, as we’re wont to do, you’ll see that Hope is actually a masterful entrepreneur and almost every aspect of his story is a carefully crafted falsehood or half truth that nonetheless has seen the man himself seemingly earn millions selling nothing more than pieces of paper.[4]


Hope was not the first to claim to own the Moon, nor the last. There is one man, however, who has the strongest claim of all- computer game designer Richard Allen Garriott de Cayeux. Why? He is the only individual to legally own something that is currently on the Moon. In 1993, he purchased the Lunokhod 2 and the Luna 21 lander for $68,500 at an auction.


Is the Government bothered?

Government does not care because such acts have no legal sanction. If people are acting stupidly, government is not obliged to do anything. If a law is legislated for private ownership of the resources in space, and technology gets advanced so much so that individuals can physically access the Moon, maybe that is when the problem might come up. Whoever has sold land on moon to Sushant Singh, they never owned the property. If one does not have a title to a property, how can it be sold.


Conclusion

Nevertheless, for the question of "Can you buy land on Moon?" is No, as the International treaty essentially states that all forms of outer space exploration (which includes lunar exploration) would be for the benefit of all mankind. It also explicitly states that no individual can purchase a piece of lunar land and call it his or her own. This means Lunar Land Registry and buying land for private ownership of the moon is impossible and illegal, as per the Outer Space Treaty of several nations. But, there are still agencies like The Lunar Registry who are allegedly selling the celestial land and we know a few Indians like Rajeev V Bagdhi and Sushant Singh Rajput who have bought the lunar land from such portals.


References:

[2]https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/ajmer-man-gifts-plot-of-land-on-moon-for-wife-is-it-possible-to-buy-lunar-land-1753563-2020-12-27 [3]https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/planning-to-buy-a-piece-of-the-moon-sorry-but-thats-not-possible-for-now-5238827/ [4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2019/01/16/can-people-buy-plots-of-land-on-the-moon/


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