posted at 05:50
Author: The Conversation
Who Owns the Moon?
To figure out whether "Earthly" laws can help decide who owns what in space - or if anything can be owned at all - we must first disentangle sovereignty from property. Perceiving outer space as a commons was also another way of preventing national sovereignty in space. Geopolitics dictated the decision to treat outer space as being non-appropriable. Some space lawyers have argued for the recognition of real property rights on the basis of jurisdiction rather than territorial sovereignty. Historical records of the Space Treaty negotiations clearly indicate people were against private appropriations at the time, but an explicit prohibition never made it into Article 2. Space entrepreneurs such as Dennis Hope from the Lunar Embassy Corporation seem to think that there is a loophole in Article 2 which allows private citizens to claim ownership of the Moon. As states are not allowed to claim sovereign rights in outer space, landed property on the Moon and planets will in all likelihood be outlawed. Recent conflicts over Ukraine, the South China Sea or Syria have raised talk of a "New era in geopolitics." They may also rekindle the realization that outer space should not become the next playground for conquest.

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