General Question

richardhenry's avatar

Can you actually buy an acre on the moon?

Asked by richardhenry (12641points) March 23rd, 2008

I often see ads purporting to be able to offer you an acre on the moon for $40, or register a star in your name for a similar price. Do these offers actually hold any validity, or are they a scam taking advantage of some trading standards loophole as I’m assuming?

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9 Answers

gooch's avatar

They could not sell what they don’t own. Its a scam

gailcalled's avatar

I don’t know about the moon, but my mother had a star named for my son for his 21st birthday. She may have been suckered but the documentation at the time listed the Right Ascension and Declination of the star. So it is not his star; just his name attached. We haven’t thought about this for years. And we’d need the Hale telescope to find it, it was that dim.

bpeoples's avatar

I don’t know about the moon thing (no gov’t can claim rights to the moon per some treaty, but I don’t know about private citizens, technically. Although I think you’d need to actually stake the property per Common Law)

On the star registry: They do register the star in your name in their database. They are indeed selling you the naming of the star in your name… in their database. I don’t see it as fraud or scam. They’re also not selling naming rights to already-named stars, just things with numerical identifications b/c they aren’t visible to the naked eye, of which there are a lot. See the answer to question 5 here: http://www.starregistry.com/faq.cfm

steelmarket's avatar

Straight from Wikipedia: “Legal experts agree that while private ownership of the Moon is not explicitly forbidden, and while Article 6(2) of the Moon Agreement is seen by some as challenging the fundamental notion of non-appropriation in space, property rights on the Moon or other celestial bodies do not exist. The main obstacle to owning a part of the Moon or celestial bodies is that there is no legal system of property law, or indeed any law, on the Moon or celestial bodies, thus no rights of ownership can be created. State sovereignty allows a State to impose and implement its law on its territory, and no state can do this, due to the principle of no-appropriation in space enshrined in Article 2 of the Outer Space Treaty. The Moon Agreement states the “exploration and use of the Moon shall be the province of mankind and shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interest of all countries”. Individual ownership rights thus fly in the face of current space law.”

Jeruba's avatar

The main obstacle to owning a part of the Moon or celestial bodies is that there is no legal system of property law, or indeed any law, on the Moon or celestial bodies, thus no rights of ownership can be created.

Why didn’t this apply to Earth? There was no legal system until people created one. That’s how one would be created on the moon as well. Why doesn’t this logic retroactively invalidate the very notion of privately owning parts of the earth? And if it can be privately owned, why aren’t the owners responsible for maintenance?

bpeoples's avatar

@Jeruba:

Traditional methods of obtaining land (prior to laws, even) on Earth was that you would defend it from intruders. Once there was a legal system, the law enforcement can protect your property from intruders.

This is still in place with certain squatter provisions in common law—if you leave property abandoned (or even not), and someone “develops” that land for more than X years, they can claim ownership if there was not a previous agreement in place.

So—how’re you going to keep the Japanese from running rovers (or astronauts) over your land on the Moon? =)

Jeruba's avatar

Post a sign?

gailcalled's avatar

Build a ha-ha around your 40 acres?

bpeoples's avatar

@Jeruba Post a sign, and a laser cannon with motion sensors =)

or what @gailcalled said (which I had to look up), which would be much more effective. =)

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