14 votes

Nobody owns the moon

By Claire Carter - 10 Jan 2014
The Telegraph

No one legally owns the moon but there is a case for developing the law as space exploration continues, a planetary science professor says.

Under current UN law, member states are "prohibited from appropriating the moon."

But Ian Crawford, professor of planetary science at Birkbeck College, said there was now a case for developing the treaty to include private companies that may want to exploit it for its minerals.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he thought space tourism was more likely to take place before the moon started to be mined for minerals. He said there was far more scientific study to be done before it could be determined if there are any economically valuable materials on the moon.

“Nobody owns the moon,” he said


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Its a legal convention we set

Its a legal convention we set up to avoid just killing each other over small fluctuations in the balance of power. Law is the best approximation of the real balance of power at any given time, subject to revision when power balance changes in big ways.

Law is the state of affairs that prevails when people agree to stop fighting, because their mutual interests dictate peace to be mor advantageous.

Once conditions change to such an extent that fighting becomes in the interests of some of the parties concerned, then violence and disorder will resume and power reshuffles the deck. Once force determines the outcome, laws are encoded to formalize the new conditions of peaceful coexistence that are agreed to.

If people can exercise their power legally and without resort to force then they will usually do so. Others will resort to force because they lack brains, and fail. That's why there are prisons.

Others with brains will outsource force to government or private force and do well.

Culture and morality plays a role as people willingly refrain from using force, up to a point, do to the force of beliefs, true or not true.

No one naturally owns anything, as you said, we are born of flesh and die and become dirt. But we do recognize each others' best objective claims to so called rights within a framework or set of standards that are attempted to be applied the same to all. Corruption is the aberration from that standard due to power, nepotism, loopholes, etc.

Justice is the enforcing of legal norms that best reflect the interests of most people according to some predetermined and formal arrangement.

You and me are "we"

"Its a legal convention WE set up to avoid just killing each other..."

You and me are we, and I can safely say WE did no such thing!

That's when the fight starts in my opinion...when one group tries to enforce their legal conventions and laws on other groups and send armies to force compliance.

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!


'We' can also apply to any

'We' can also apply to any other set of persons beyond one individual. You and me are we, but you, me and Zoey are three, and three can be we. Bob, joe and dora are more, and so four can be more than three, which was 'we'. Fred, ted and clive are five, and it's jive they're quite a hive, one more than four, which was one more than three, which was 'we.'

So as you can see, any grouping can be called we. For example, we Americans, we libertarians, we Ron Paul supporters, we humans.

Now that we've (we can also men 'I') established the meaning of 'we,' we can understand (hopefully) what I meant by 'we have established legal conventions to prevent violence.' We, as in those who actually dealt with the problems and violence and disorder that was settled at one time or another by establishing law.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Welcome Rob, to the Matrix

Confusion is where the journey begins.

Do you think you "own yourself?"

What does it mean to own something?

I think I SHOULD own myself...

I think I SHOULD own myself, and I try hard to live as if that were true, but unfortunately, some entities tentacles have a firm grip over nearly all aspects of "my life."

If I truly owned myself, I would not be subjected to any higher authority than my own conscience. But it's fairly clear the government has laid a claim on me. :/

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!


Michael Nystrom's picture

Higher claim?

I'm not talking about the government.

If you have ownership over something, you'd have complete control over it, right? What is ownership if you don't have control?

So if you have ownership over yourself, can you, for example, stop your heart from beating for the next hour? Or start with something a little simpler. How about stop breathing for the next hour?

Try it and see what happens.

(You may say, "Well, I don't want to stop breathing for the next hour," but that would be a cop out :)

Most people don't want to die, but everyone does. What's that all about if people "own" themselves?

Just a little food for thought. Chew on it for a little while and let me know how it tastes.


I'm just hanging out in this body for a few more decades...

...then I'll move on....
So far....it's been one heck of an adventure...!!!

Just progress the trends

If land is owned, and all of it is at this point, and population is increasing, we quickly come to a point where a % of the Earth's inhabitants have no place to BE unless they are accepted by somebody who does (for whatever reason or arrangement).

Can freedom exist for these persons shut out of this ownership system or is the only way out is for the lucky few to take over or acquire someplace to BE from another?

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.

It's a tricky issue for sure - especially when billionaires buy

land for the purpose of controlling the water beneath it:

As for the Indian view of land ownership - that is in fact misunderstood interpretation of the 'you own it while you live on it' view: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_Native_American_and_Europ...

Pandas can't drive.

Could a non-member state own the moon?

Perhaps the Pope (Holy See) has heavenly ambitions.

As far as I'm concerned, the

As far as I'm concerned, the Pope totally owns the moon.

read "the man who sold the moon"

in the book by robert heinlien he makes the argument that you own land all the way down to the core of the planet and all the way out to space, so if you live in one of the places the moon crosses you own part of the moon, so his character in the book bought the rights to the moon from all the tropical countries in the world.

Before you think thats far fetched remember if a company actually does make it to the moon someone is going to sue the crap out of them for some of that money, you know cause lawyers got to make a living.

Didn't Valentine Michael Smith own the moon?

In Heinlien's Strager in a Strange Land?


It has been so long, but it was something like that. Or maybe it was Mars that he owned.

The Diamond Dog is a real cool cat. | Reporting on the world from an altitude of 420.

Actually, I own the moon

And Dennis Rodman can't have it.

allegory - ˈalɪg(ə)ri/ - noun - 1. a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.