While the resemblance of the moon’s crater-pocked surface to some of India’s busiest roads has already been pointed out by creative citizens, what would it take to own a piece of the moon or any extraterrestrial body? And is it even possible? Well, there is Hope. Chandrayaan-2 Maybe India’s Moonwalk Into History
Even in these times marked by a floundering economy, property prices in India’s top cities such as Delhi and Mumbai are sky high. Astronomical, some might say. Is it then better to set one’s sights a little further out? No, not Noida. Not Thane. And not Kashmir.
Any way you look at it, Chandrayaan-2 is a milestone in space exploration. So much so that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took time out of his normally packed schedule to basking in some lunar glory. Over past months, the spacecraft has sent back a burst of shots of the lunar landscape, generating abundant curiosity. While the resemblance of the crater-pocked topography to some of India’s busiest roads has already been pointed out by creative citizens, a question that arises out of this is what would it take to own a piece of the moon? And is it even possible?
Well, there is hope. Or, to be more specific, Dennis M Hope. In 1980, the United States entrepreneur wrote a letter to the United Nations, declaring himself the owner of the moon. The UN did not respond, so Hope and his company, Lunar Embassy, just started selling the land.
Hope and his clients now ‘own’ all the planetary bodies in the solar system. Over the years, he has sold thousands of parcels of moon real estate to customers, allegedly including to former US presidents Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, and to dozens of big corporations, such as the Hilton and Marriott hotel chains.
“In 2001, I had 163,000 emails from different customers around the world that wanted to know how on Earth we would ever protect the properties that the Lunar Embassy was selling,” Hope told Germany broadcaster, Deutsche Welle. “And after due consideration, the only answer we could come up with was that we needed to form a democratic republic government. So we created the Galactic Government.”
Hope’s claims and ideas may sound outlandish (several experts have termed them “fraudulent”), but he and other innovative extraterrestrial real estate mavens – for instance, Chilean lawyer Jenaro Gajardo Vera claimed ownership of the moon in 1953, and Martin Juergens from Germany has said that the moon has belonged to his family since July 15, 1756, when the Prussian king Frederick the Great presented it to his ancestors – say they found a number of loopholes in existing ‘celestial laws’.
As an article in the science and astronomy news website Space explains, while there are treaties that have been voluntarily signed by many nations, technological advances mean that private companies, like technology entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX, can take part in space exploration, and these entities may not be covered under some existing accords.