Would you buy an acre of moon land from this man? Dennis Hope, a Nevada entrepreneur, has been selling lunar real estate, priced at $20/acre, for the last 20 years. By exploiting a loophole created during the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty (the Treaty stated that no country or government could lay claim on extraterrestrial land, but did not mention private individuals or corporations), he has basically laid ownership claim not only on earth’s nearest satellite, the moon, but also on seven other planets, and their individual moons.
His business, called Lunar Embassy, is booming. Hope claims that, so far, former presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter have bought acres of moon land from him, as well as the hotel corporations Hilton and Marriot. Over 400 million acres have been sold so far, at a rate of 1,500 lunar properties per day. What’s more, the sale of these lunar acres has brought in profits totaling $9 million.
Dennis Hope is one of many individuals, as well as corporations, cashing in on the U.S. government’s renewed interest in the moon. This renewed interest started when President George W. Bush announced, back in January of 2004, that he wished for the U.S. to make another trip to the Moon by 2017, and to establish a lunar base by 2020. In response to this request, the U.S. space contractor Lockheed Martin is already developing technologies that will allow future moon residents to take advantage of the moon’s natural resources, such as by converting moon dust into oxygen and water.
Prior Apollo moon landings showed that lunar soil contains large deposits of a rare gas called helium 3. Scientists think that helium 3 could be used to create a new energy source, one that would be virtually inexhaustible, and pollution-free to boot. This has resulted in the U.S., as well as Russia, laying plans on how to strip-mine the helium 3 and transport it back to Earth.
As for Lunar Embassy, it has set up sale of lunar land not only in the U.S., but also in the countries of Germany, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and China. Ownership of the land also includes the right to harvest its resources, up to 1.8 miles underground. Despite the rise of “moon fever”, no government has, as of yet, recognized the sales as legally binding. Furthermore, lawyers for the United Nations state that Lunar Embassy’s ownership claim on the moon is without merit.
For anyone still interested in buying lunar property, though, there are 8 billion acres left for sale.
Making a mint out of the Moon http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6533169.stm
Moon real estate on sale in China http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4360082.stm