Law, College of


Date of this Version



Published in Space Policy (2004) 20: 149-156; doi: 10.1016/j.spacepol.2004.06.006 Copyright © 2004 Elsevier Ltd.


At a time when scientific and commercial interest in the Moon is being reinvigorated it is becoming fashionable for ordinary individuals to “buy” plots on the lunar surface, with the “vendors” arguing that an absence of specific prohibition of individual private activity in space makes such action legal. It is therefore time for the legal community to address this situation by investigating just how legal such activity is—and bringing their findings to the attention of governments. This can be done through an examination of the relationship between national law and international space law, of the provisions of international space law—especially Article 2 of the Outer Space Treaty—and by answering any claims to private ownership of immovable property. Aside from the fact that individuals appear to be being duped, the pursuit of property claims on the Moon could impede future activities aimed at benefiting society.