Moon For Sale……

7 Jan

One Small Step for Man……

 

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted the American flag on the Moon at Tranquillity Base in July, 1969, manyFlag Planting on Moon people assumed, wrongly, that the USA had staked its claim to ownership of the moon.  Having already been a signatory to the ‘Outer Space Treaty’ in 1967, forbidding the ownership of celestial bodies, the planting of the flag was purely a symbolic act, which the more cynical amongst you may interpret as the Americans giving the ‘finger’ to their Soviet counterparts……

 

Selling the Moon……

 

A quick search of the internet will return dozens of companies offering lunar real estate for sale.  Prices start at a very reasonable £16.75 per acre but based on the afore mentioned ‘Outer Space Treaty’, what legal basis do any of these companies have for selling something that doesn’t belong to them.

 

042-property-on-the-moon_021The ‘Lunar Embassy’ is one of the oldest companies selling real estate on the Moon.  They claim to be ‘the only recognised world authority for the sale of Lunar and other planetary real estate’, a completely bogus claim.  The website is vague and only tells you what pieces of paper you will receive while giving no explanation of any legal rights these transfer.  A search of the American Copyright Office website, from whom the ‘Lunar Embassy’ claims to get its legal status, returns no results.  ‘The Lunar Embassy’ and the many other companies offering to sell you real estate on the Moon, operate without any legal basis I have been able to find and my advice is, unless you want a few fancy pieces of paper to decorate your hallway, save your money or invest it in something practical……

 

 

Does the Moon Hold any Value……

 

Well, actually, it does.  The surface of the Moon is thought to be abundant in Helium 3 (as opposed to the Helium 4 found on Earth).  Its potential use in nuclear fusion makes it a desirable commodity.  However, the logistical problems of mining He3 on the Moon and transporting back to Earth would make it prohibitively expensive.  Even if the technology existed to mine He3 from the Lunar surface, the claimants in possession of the ‘Lunar Embassy’ paperwork may find themselves involved in a legal battle that will be somewhat more expensive than the £16 that their acre of Lunar surface cost them to start with and almost certainly more than the value of the Helium 3……

 

Name a Star for a Loved One……star-twinkle

 

To mark the birth of a child or, more sadly, the loss of a loved one, naming a star seems like a nice, thoughtful act.  However, this too is a lucrative scam for those people selling stars.  The organisation responsible for naming astronomical objects is the International Astronomical Union (IAU).  The IAU names objects according to internationally accepted rules.  These are normally pretty boring, for example NGC925 a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Triangulum, about 45m light years away.  Sometimes an astronomical object is referred to by the name of the person who discovered it but this a matter of courtesy.

 

galaxy-universe-andromedaThere is no central register of the ‘names’ given to stars, so there is nothing to stop the companies issuing the certificate to several different people and, without a modern GPS automated telescope, there is little chance that you will even be able to locate the star you have paid to ‘name’……

 

Recommendation……

 

Rather than line the pockets of charlatans selling bits of the sky, stars and real estate on the Moon (and now Mars too),  Plant a tree, dedicate a park bench or donate the money to a charity.  Estimates on the amount of real estate that has been sold on the Moon vary but some claim it could be as high as 350,000 acres.  That means that someone out there is nearly £6m richer for selling nothing more than a few sheets of paper……

 

‘Come to think of it; I wonder if there’s a market for selling the future?’

 

 

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