Outer Space Treaty

From Academic Kids

de:Weltraumvertrag The Outer Space Treaty bars signatories from placing nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction in orbit of Earth, installing them on the moon or any other celestial body, or to otherwise station them in outer space. It exclusively limits the use of the moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes and expressly prohibits their use for testing weapons of any kind, conducting military maneuvers, or establishing military bases, installations, fortifications. It explicitly forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet.

The Treaty was opened for signature in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on January 27, 1967. On April 25 the United States Senate gave unanimous consent to its ratification, and the Treaty entered into force on October 10, 1967.

After the treaty was ratified, they soon found out there was a vital omission in the treaty, that it does not say whether commercial enterprises or private individuals can claim, exploit or appropriate the celestial bodies for profit. The Moon Treaty (Moon Agreement) of 1984 tried to fix this problem, but out of 185 or so member states of the UN, only 6 states supported it. All space faring nations (USA, UK, Russia, China, etc.) refused to sign it. The USA explicitly refused to sign it as it would inhibit the exploitation of Lunar and other celestial resources for profit by corporations and individuals.

Quoting Ross Malaga (http://www.prenhall.com/divisions/bp/app/malaga/oct2000.html#moon):

According to Dennis Hope, a former shoe salesman and self-styled owner of the moon (and the rest of the solar system), a one-acre [4,000 m²] piece of the moon can be yours for only $10. Hope has set up a Web site called Lunar Embassy (http://www.lunarembassy.com) to facilitate the transaction. He has also gone international, appointing Francis Williams as Lunar Ambassador to the U.K. Williams has established MoonEstates.com (http://www.moonestates.com/) as his site for selling lunar real estate. Both sites will provide a certificate and picture of your plot.
Actually, Hope claims ownership rights not only to the Earth's moon, but also to the other planets and moons in our solar system. He has filed his claims with the United Nations. Ownership of the moon (and other celestial bodies) is governed by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1979 Moon Agreement. U.N. legal experts state that the moon falls under the legal concept of res communis, which means everyone owns it (the concept is also applied to the high seas). They do not recognize Hope's claim and regard his actions as providing a novelty item.

Based on BR Online (http://www.br-online.de/wissen-bildung/kalenderblatt/2003/07/kb20030715.html) (in German):

Martin Jürgens contested Dennis Hope's claims to the moon on the basis of an act by Frederick the Great of Prussia, who gave the Moon as a gift to his ancestor Aul Jürgens. This is documented by a deed dated 15th July 1756. However, German courts followed the rulings mentioned above.

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