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Space Law FAQs

SPACE LAW FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

In the last year, the Lunar Embassy as well as many other bodies has been receiving much attention with regard to the sale of extraterrestrial property.

The discussions in several articles are productive to furthering the discussion of the subject to say the least. This in itself has stimulated very positive and productive discussions all over the planet. The Lunar Embassy has however noticed that many discussions are sometimes tainted with simple untruths that are unfortunately stated by people who have not researched the subject in depth. As a result, some untruths sometimes get mixed up with what is actually fact today.

As market leaders in the area of extraterrestrial property sales, the Lunar Embassy feels it is therefore necessary to dispel a few myths. It is our goal to provide all the information possible in order to help our customers to make a correct and informed choice.

At this stage we feel it may be a good idea to let you know that what follows, is a discussion of the legal aspects of owning extraterrestrial property. It is the only area on any of our webservers where we will leave the "fun" aspect of the entire story aside for the moment for a reality check. It is meant for the hard and fast skeptics out there, to whom we owe so much.

Perhaps you have heard someone once say something like "The Moon cannot be sold" or "The Moon Treaty absolutely forbids exploitation of Lunar resources for profit." These and many other statements spoken by the uneducated are simply untrue.

Here is the truth about some myths. We do explain them, as we and other space experts know them to be fact to the best of our abilities.

SPACE LAW FAQS

1. What is the law today?
2. The Moon Treaty forbids the exploitation of Space, the Moon and other celestial bodies for profit motives. According to the Moon treaty, individuals may not claim the Moon and other celestial bodies. Is this true?
3. What laws actually exist on the Moon, on Mars or any other planets?
4. OK, what about NASA. How do they fit in? If this is all true then can I not "get them" if they land on my property?
5. So what about the future? What guarantees are there? Will new laws be established?

Answers

1. What is the law?
With regard to extraterrestrial property sales, two treaties exist today.
These treaties do not refer to "ownership" as such, they more commonly refer to the "exploitation of the Moon and other celestial bodies for profit purposes". Extraterrestrial property sales distinctly fall under that section. The treaties are The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the Moon Treaty of 1984.

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 explicitly forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet.

What does this mean? Well it means that governments can not appropriate the Moon or other celestial bodies. Effectively, governments have signed to the fact that they have no rights to these bodies at all. What is actually important here is what the Outer Space Treaty does not say. It explicitly does not say whether commercial enterprises or private individuals can claim, exploit or appropriate the celestial bodies for profit. (Note that the Lunar Embassy is not a government body.)

The United Nations and all countries that signed the Outer Space Treaty became aware of this vital omission almost immediately after the treaty was ratified in 1967. In fact, the United Nations have expended a large amount of time trying to ratify an amendment to the treaty ever since, that would explicitly include corporations and individuals. All attempts at ratifying such an amendment failed because member states did not agree with it. So, in the end, all the ratification attempts were summarized into the famous Moon Treaty some 15 years later. This information is a well documented fact today.

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2. The Moon Treaty forbids the exploitation of Space, the Moon and other celestial bodies for profit motives. According to the Moon treaty, individuals may not claim the Moon and other celestial bodies. Is this true?
This is not a Myth. This is the absolute truth and as a result, some people name the Moon Treaty as a common objection to many private commercial enterprises that are in the process or wish to exploit Lunar or planetary resources for profit.

There's just one small, minor problem: The Treaty was never ratified. Of all the approximately 185 member states of the UN only six states supported it. All others, including all space faring nations (USA, Russia, China etc) refused to sign it and did not sign it. That is something that does not seem to be well known. The USA explicitly refused to sign it as it would inhibit the exploitation of Lunar and other celestial resources for profit by corporations and individuals. Some websites actually incorrectly list the Moon Treaty as ratified.

We feel that the non ratification of the Moon Treaty is a good thing. Imagine we found oil on the Moon and a company was by law prohibited from mining it? Surely, that is not in the public's best interest.

Here is what an historical website has to say about it:
"The Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies is the infamous "Moon Treaty". It was killed by a handful of L5 Society activists who were the first to see that it would outlaw property rights in the rest of the universe and indefinitely bog down space settlement in a "common heritage of all mankind" morass. When, as a result of the L5 Society efforts, the US congress failed to ratify the treaty, the USSR also breathed a sigh of relief. They likewise did not ratify. The Soviets were so surprised at the impact of this relatively unknown organization that they sent very obvious KGB members to chapter meetings in New York City to find out who they were. The Soviet Embassy in Washington DC subscribed to the L5 News for years afterwards."

The USA at the time said that they would prefer to see "How public opinion develops". Well it certainly has developed with millions of people on planet Earth, from all walks of life, love owning a property on the Moon or on another celestial bodies and find it very rewarding.

This all sound nuts....is this really what is going on?

Fortunately yes. We say fortunately, because it allows the common public access to these resources. In the end of the day, it is all of our responsibility to ensure these bodies are taken care of. It gets more interesting. Many companies are gearing up to exploit Lunar and celestial resources for profit. This is not a bad thing. In all cases we think it is a good thing. Take the Lunar Rover Initiative for example. NASA, the Robotics Institute and LunaCorp plans to launch the first "private" mission to the Moon in the near future. The plan is to put several remote controlled buggies onto the Moon, so that you can visit a kind of fun park, where you can, for money, with a Virtual Reality helmet on your head, cruise your own personal remote controlled buggy across the Lunar surface. (Yes, this is cool to say the least.) These companies could not do this, if it was illegal by any treaty to exploit the Moon for profit motives. And of course they know this, otherwise investors would not place over 900 million dollars into such a project. Note also that if these companies were affiliated with governments (like NASA was), the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 would prohibit their actions. But, they are private corporations now. This is therefore perfectly ok. (And hey, we can not wait to try one of those buggies..) Again, they also protect all of mankind's right to this: anyone can go and pay to have a cruise across the Lunar Surface. Whether it is exploration or exploitation is not for us to decide really, but the line seems to be getting thinner by the year. (And why this difference is of importance will become clearer below.)

Visit their website at: http://www.frc.ri.cmu.edu/projects/lri/

The Artemis project will also launch to the Moon in the next few years. Their mission is to bring some rocks back to Earth that they will happily sell to you as collectors' items. This revenue will mainly be used to fund their organization. Again they are a private organization.

Visit them at: http://www.asi.org/adb/j/02/legal-roadblocks.html

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3. What laws actually exist on the Moon, on Mars or any other any planets?
On the Moon itself or on any other planets apart from Earth, apart from the laws of the Dennis Hope, currently no law exists.

If we settle on the Moon and Mars for example, such laws must be established to ensure people's rights. Again, that can not be done unless ownership rights are addressed and settled. That is where all our customers and the Lunar Embassy have made a start at forming public opinion.

Others have suggested that it would be a good idea, when extraterrestrial claim laws are established, that they should be linked to the proximity of the individual to the property in question. That means if you have the money to go there, you can have it. The Lunar Embassy thinks this is not a good idea, because it would give precedence to corporations and financially capable organizations to file and receive an extraterrestrial property, because they can afford to go there. The normal member of the public would therefore lose out on any claims if such a suggestion were followed, because it is much more difficult for us mortals, physically and financially, to reach the Moon or the other eight planets.

It has therefore become an objective of the Lunar Embassy, if and when such laws are established, to help to protect the right of the general public to be allowed to claim and use these extraterrestrial resources, regardless of whether you are in proximity of the property or not.

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4. OK, what about NASA. How do they fit in? If this is all true, then can I not "get them" if they land on my property?
In short - No you can't. This is quite simple. No celestial body is owned by NASA and they have never claimed them. (Some seem to have the distinct belief that the Moon belongs to NASA). It does not and NASA never said it does.

Further, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which is law, clearly states that the Moon and the other celestial bodies are the heritage of all mankind for the purposes of exploration. Well there we are. NASA can do what they like and where they like, as long as they are exploring which is in general what they are doing of course. If someone wants to build a house on your property though, that is quite a different issue altogether.

However, let's keep something in mind?

We feel the people at NASA risk their lives every single day to make the new frontiers available to all mankind. There is nothing that the human race could be more proud of, and we, as responsible humans should not hinder, interfere or dispute this great endeavor and intention at any time. Think of where we would be without these brave and exceptional men and women today - stuck on planet Earth. If this gives others like us the chance to make many people a little bit happier by selling Extraterrestrial Properties, and if it allows others to make people happy by letting them drive lunar buggies around the Moon, then we should all remember in a responsible manner, that it is NASA who has made all of it possible in the first place. We are grateful to them. If the Lunar Embassy were ever to attack NASA for landing on our property, we would be ashamed of ourselves.

This is the reason that the Lunar Embassy has never and will never sell a past or planned NASA landing site on any celestial body.

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5. So what about the future? What guarantees are there? Will new laws be established?
Well, so far, we are not aware of anyone trying to make new laws, nor are we aware of anyone who has the jurisdiction to create them.

But positive public opinion is forming big time and that is a very good start.

What the future brings, we do not know. In short, there are no guarantees (except our 60 day money back guarantee of course). No one can see into the future. All of a sudden (though very unlikely and just a hypothetical) , 180 Nations may decide no one is to go and exploit Lunar or Celestial Resources for any reason which would put an end to many companies projects planned for the Moon. Or one day the US government may actually come clean about the Roswell incident. As usual in our lives...anything can happen.

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