Extraterrestrial real estate refers to land on any celestial body but the earth, which is often sold by organizations and individuals to other establishments and people. Legally, there have always been issues regarding the ownership of property on space. Despite this, there are some individuals who do claim to own land on space.
One of the earliest such claims made by an individual was an instance where A. Dean Lindsay insisted on June 15, 1936, that all extraterrestrial objects belonged to him. In fact, his affirmation became so well-known that other people requested to purchase some of his possessions. In a second such instance, the Asteroid 433 Eros was declared by a man named Gregory W. Nemitz to be his own. To assert his ownership, he even levied a $20 parking fine to NASA when the satellite NEAR Shoemaker landed on the asteroid in 2001. NASA, however, hasn’t agreed to the parking ticket, saying that it is illegal of a man to make such irrational claims.
In 1967, the United Nations put forth the ‘Outer Space Treaty’, which prevented nations from claiming possession of land or any other form of property outside the boundaries of the earth. It also declares through Article VI that the States Parties are responsible for all activities undertaken in space, irrespective of whether they are conducted by the government or by any other entity. This treaty has been ratified by 102 countries, which includes those nations that regularly conduct space research. The terms of the ‘Outer Space Treaty’ of course allow signatories to withdraw a year later, if they feel the need to do so. A second pact was suggested in 1979, known as the ‘International Moon Treaty’, which strictly prohibited anybody, individual or otherwise from owning land is space. As of January 1, 2013, not more than 15 states had agreed to the pact, and none of them were significant space-faring countries. The International Moon Treaty came into effect only in 1984, and countries such as Kazakhstan and India have signed this agreement.
Controversy still rages on about these two treaties, and whether they are the final word on the topic of space ownership. This discussion has found many followers, some in favor of the possession of land and objects outside the earth; while others protesting that the outer space belongs to all of us and not just an individual. Do you find this subject interesting? If yes, hit the like button and share with people you know.