Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Do Israeli's really own 10% of the moon?
Israelis blast past others in bid to own moon
Jan 4, 2007
Israelis own 10 percent of the privately owned area on the moon, according to Tom Wegner, a spokesman for Crazyshop, a company that sells plots of moon land to private individuals in Israel.
About 10,000 Israelis have purchased moon property since it became available in 2000. Of the 10 million acres sold worldwide, 1 million are owned by residents of Israel, Wegner said Wednesday.
"Some Israelis believe that buying land on the moon is an original gift and a great investment that their grandchildren might benefit from," he told The Jerusalem Post.
Israeli moon property sales rose dramatically last month following NASA's announcement on December 5 that it would establish an "international base camp" on one of the moon's poles, landing astronauts in 2020 - and setting up a permanent colony four years later.
Although the sales also increased in the United States, nowhere in the world were they as high as in Israel. While about 9,000 Israelis purchased plots from 2000 until December's announcement, a full 1,000 did so over the last month, Wegman said. "This trend will continue to increase in Israel; it is a snowball effect," he said.
Inheritance and Sale of "Extraterrestrial Real Estate"
8-10 March 2001, "Lunar Real Estate: Buyer, Beware!", Paper presented at the First Convention of Lunar Explorers, Palais de la Découverte, Paris, 8-10 March 2001.. Also downloadable from http://www.spacefuture.com/archive/lunar_real_estate_buyer_beware.shtml
During the past decade, mass-media has reported about individuals and companies that have claimed ownership of various celestial bodies and, in most of the cases, subsequently offered them for sale to the public. While the most publicized "extraterrestrial real estate" company is Dennis Hope's Lunar Embassy, lunar sales date back to 1955, when Robert R. Coles, a former chairman of New York's "Hayden Planetarium", incorporated and started selling lots on the moon for one dollar per acre - because no one else had claimed the Moon1. In January 1962, prior to the launching of "Ranger 3", the first US lunar probe, an individual in one of the British dominions sent President Eisenhower a telegram, informing him that he filed claim to a certain lunar area and that he intended to hold the United States responsible for any damage the probe would cause to his property2. The affair did not develop any further, maybe because Ranger 3 missed the Moon by 36,793 kilometres3. In 1969, soon after Apollo 11 mission, Brazilian police arrested a man for selling lunar lots priced at $25 each. In his pro domo plea, the salesman said he had sold the first lots to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and that they went to the Moon to inspect their properties4.
Eleven years later, Dennis Hope from Rio Vista, California, founded the first "extraterrestrial estate" agency, the Lunar Embassy. In 1980, unaware of the previous affairs and thus believing that the Moon had not been previously claimed by anybody, and convinced that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibition of national appropriation in outer space would not apply to individuals, Hope registered at the federal office of his county a claim over the Moon and a "lunar constitution"5, subsequently copyrighting his work with the US Copyright registry office. He also sent notifications of his claim to the USSR and US governments and to the UN, and he did not receive any answer6. Convinced of the legality of his claim, Hope divided the visible side of the Moon in 3 million parcels7 that he began selling in supermarkets and later on the internet8. Hope has extended his extraterrestrial real estate business to properties on Mars, Venus and Io. He sells an extraterrestrial parcel at the price of $15.99 plus $10 postage and packing, and $1.16 for 'lunar tax'. By June 2000, there were more than 60,000 people holding real estate certificates from the Lunar Embassy9, including Hollywood celebrities like Tom Cruise and Harisson Ford and, apparently, two former US presidents - Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter10.
Hope is not the only one in the extraterrestrial real estate business. A number of "copycat companies" have appeared - at least six by August 199711, such as the Universal Lunarian Society, that sells parcels on the lunar crater Copernicus for US$50 an acre12, Space Pioneers - that claimed in April 1992 "all the planets in the Milky Way Galaxy"13 and subsequently begun to sell deeds to parcels on Mars priced at US$ 29.95 an acre14, and the Martian Consulate that handsomely states that "Giving a land claim on Mars is truly a unique way to say 'I Love You', 'Happy Birthday', ... or even 'Thank You'"15.