Ground Control To Major Tom…Keep It Local, Man…



Ah, colonization. What was it Captain James T. Kirk always said…”space, the final frontier?” If Competitive Enterprise Institute, a pro-colonization organization which seems to be “putting the cart before the horse” gets their way, you just might be able to buy yourself a piece of the moon!

Moon living... A step closer to reality? © Francesco De Paoli - Fotolia.com

Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Adjunct Scholar, Rand Simberg, has been working to make the recognition of lunar property rights a reality. Simberg believes that if the United States were to allow claims to land on the moon it would improve colonization efforts. He noted that the ability to own property [moon land titles] “…would have great potential to kick the development of extraterrestrial resources – and perhaps even the human settlement of space – into high gear.”

Any history buff will remember that the initial colonization of America was the result of corporations who funded the venture in hopes of profit. That same drive for profit is what Simberg and other experts believe will help jump-start lunar colonization. If a corporation can see a way to profit from the venture, they will be more likely to fund the effort.

Unless you’re a trivia nut you might not be aware of a 1979 treaty known as the Moon Treaty, which prohibits private property claims to the moon, however the US did not sign that treaty. We did however sign the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which prevents the colonization of celestial bodies.

Alan Wasser, chairman of the Space Settlement Institute, puts forth the argument that the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 only prevents nations from such efforts, leaving space exploration and colonization open for private corporations.

Both Simberg and Wasser suggest that the U.S. government use 3 criteria to allow off-planet land claims:

1. The individual or corporation puts forth a plan for permanent human settlements on extraterrestrial bodies
2. The individual or corporation will provide commercial transport between Earth and the settlement
3. The individual or corporation will offer the land for sale.

In an effort to make progress on the home front, Simberg will go to Capitol Hill this week to present his study. It will be interesting to see if anybody but Newt Gingrich lends their support to this venture.

If Congress agrees to the colonization of the moon, that would certainly be no surprise. After all, they are putting forth “green power” at lightning speed…meanwhile the highly subsidized “green” companies are falling into bankruptcy, one by one. Until the infrastructure is set up for a profitable, clean and reliable “green” solution for our energy needs is established, it will be another example of wasteful spending.

The same rule applies to colonizing the moon. Until we have worked out all of the details and have all of the technology in place, living on the moon, much like driving an electric car, or other clean burning transport [from shore to shore], will remain a “pie in the sky” dream.

What say you?

Comments

  1. Yes, there are aerospace entrepreneurs interested in trying to develop the technology necessary to establish a lunar settlement if this legislation passes. The best example being Eric Rice the CEO of Orbitec who’s done a lot of work towards that.

    But, unfortunately they don’t have the clout to get any Congressional Representative or Senator to take the risk of being the first to propose such a radical new idea. Any help we could get from the much more effective lobbyists for the realty industry would be wonderful.

  2. Anita, You ask “do we honestly have the technology needed to colonize any extra-terrestrial body, and at a reasonable cost?”

    No, we don’t. The biggest problem is that we lack safe, reliable, affordable transport.

    We’re close enough to know that the technology can be developed, but it will take billions of dollars of investment.

    The US government was planning to pay for that development, but the voters clearly prefer tax cuts to space spending, so that program is cancelled, at least for now.

    Instead of the government doing it, it should be developed the way computers were developed, by private entrepreneurs, risking their own capital, hoping to make a big profit if they succeed.

    Real estate happens to be one and only “product” on the Moon that could be worth enough to justify the expense of developing affordable transport and establishing a settlement.

    The Outer Space Treaty prohibits NATIONS from claiming land, but it doesn’t prohibit private ownership claims – IF they are made by people who are actually living on the land they are claiming.

    If investors knew that, if they successfully develop the transport and settle the moon, they could claim and resell a big enough chunk of Lunar land to make a huge profit, some of them would try to do it.

    That would greatly benefit the economy, while costing the government and the taxpayers nothing at all.

    The aerospace industry would benefit most, of course, but it would probably be very good for real estate salesmen as well.

    • I am interested to see how the proposal is received in Congress. Your argument certainly has merit and could very well gain traction among investors who see the viability in this endeavor. To your knowledge are there any venture capitalists interested in the concept?

  3. The prime requirement is not just “The individual or corporation puts forth a plan for permanent human settlements on extraterrestrial bodies.”

    They have to have fulfilled their plan and actually have established a permanently inhabited settlement on the Moon or Mars.

    Only people actually living on the Moon can claim the land around them.

    But once there really are men and women living in a settlement on the Moon, they can repay their investors, and pay their expenses, by selling parts of their land to people back on Earth.

    A few of the buyers will want to go to their new property and open hotels and businesses, but most Lunar land buyers will be investors and speculators putting their deed away, waiting for the land value to go up as the settlement grows.

    One other thing. This law is designed to get private for-profit investors to pay for all this – without costing the taxpayers or the US government a single cent!

    • Thanks for your reply! I certainly hope to see this plan come to fruition, however do we honestly have the technology needed to colonize any extra-terrestrial body, and at a reasonable cost?