So who exactly owns the moon? It is a question that has vexed me for years. In light of the upcoming shuttle launch I found myself straying back to it more and more often. As a historian I have a pretty set definition of how a nation or country colonizes. Historically, the Finders-Keepers rule applies: get there first and it is all yours. In the history of space exploration a total of twelve men (yes, just men) have stepped foot on the moon and they have all been American. An American flag is planted on the surface of the moon. And everyone knows that once that flag is planted, ownership is claimed. At least that’s how it works in WOW. So that must mean that the United State of America owns the moon, right?
A Nevada man, Dennis Hope, seems to believe this as well. Under the assumption that the US laid claim to lunar real estate, he petitioned the UN to be allowed to create a government on the moon. Of course it would be run in absentia. When the UN didn’t respond, he assumed he had every right to the moon and its land. He formed a company and began selling deeds to lunar property for less than $30 USD per acre. The US owned the moon, he had the rights to administer its government. And with that much land, every self-respecting government would, of course, begin selling it off. Now to come up with a solid system of taxation…[To read the rest of Jenn Tylbon’s post about lunar real estate, and other posts in our series counting down to this week’s final shuttle launch, visit GeekMom!]