New Models for Moon Land-Grab

The private space industry looks like it's here to stay, so some experts are calling for official rules on property rights

Settling on the Moon

Kevin Hand

Sure, you can sign up for a little piece of property on the Moon, but the little certificate you get in return won't mean anything. Now that the space tourism industry is starting to heat up, though, a few space lovers are calling for a plan to truly open up the lunar real estate business.

Alan Wasser, chairman of the Space Settlement Institute, just published a paper suggesting that the U.S. and other nations should agree on something called "land claim recognition" legislation. This would allow someone, or some group, that has actually settled on the Moon, Mars or one of the man asteroids floating around our solar system to have official, internationally recognized rights to that spot. Naturally, the people initially touching down on the lunar surface won't just be individuals looking for a new life - the idea behind this is to really stimulate the business of space.

So, on the Moon, Wasser says settlers should be entitled to plots the size of Alaska. That way, groups would have plenty of space to develop and potentially make back the money it cost to get there. The Boston Globe has a good review of his plan, as well as a few others. Read it here.