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Kick Start Moon Development

Ownership of Property on the Moon

Our current situation virtually prohibits anyone owning any property on the Moon, practically ensuring that no one will invest any resources into developing any of the resources or energy available on the Moon. Countries have, and possibly will continue to devote huge sums in exploring the Moon, but there are legal, international and philosophical issues with actually developing anything on the Moon.

Efforts to leave the Moon undeveloped, or require that any resources developed on the Moon be “shared with all mankind” will guarantee that the Moon will stay forever undeveloped, and there will never be anything to be shared.

The countries that are working on developing expeditions to the Moon calculate that their military might can counter any effort by the UN to confiscate or “share” resources they might develop on the Moon, and countries that are not working on developing any expeditions are hoping that the democratic workings of the UN might force any nation that does develop resources to share them, without having to put any effort or resources into developing the Moon on their own.

There is a legitimate fear on the part of non-developing countries, that there needs to be some mechanism to share access to the Moon, or those countries might be left behind once mankind does expand into space.

There is a fairly simple way to accommodate all these narratives: Grant ownership of different parcels of the Moon to all nations in perpetuity, with no ability to trade or sell their ownership rights. They can, however, lease or rent out their parcels, in part or in toto, or they can lease or rent out different rights, such as mineral rights.

The Moon has been mapped in detail, and it would be simple to parcel out tracts of 10,000 or 20,000 square kilometers, and have a first, second and third request-plus-a-lottery system for allocating the parcels equitably. A country could choose to have a 10,000 square kilometer parcel on the nearside, plus a 10,000 square kilometer parcel on the farside, or they could choose to have just one large 20,000 square kilometer parcel. In this way, every nation would have a secure foothold in space, with no need to worry about losing out on space access while others are developing.
To encourage private commercial development, large portions of the Moon would be left available for a “Homesteading” type of claim-and-develop practice, with the UN administering Moon Property sales of parcels of 500 to 5,000 square kilometers, at a nominal fee of $1,000.00 USD per square kilometer, and the requirement that governmental or private organizations interested in acquiring Moon property purchase the property at a nominal fcost from the UN (proceeds to be shared among all mankind), and also that they prove their capability to responsibly develop Moon resources, by landing equipment on their holding within 1 year and begin developing a facility on their property within 5 years of the purchase.

Every organism, organization, or system must bring in more resources and energy than it uses up in its daily activities, in order to thrive and grow.

In our human activities, we keep track of that energy and resources in terms of money, and the extra we bring in is called profit. In order to continue with an activity, we need to find value from it, commensurate with the effort and resources that we use up engaging in the activity.

Without industry, however, towns die. The world is littered with ghost towns that were left behind when the local industry no longer supported the people living in the town. People are typically not interested in developing someone else’s property, yet they will stay awake nights thinking about how to develop their own property.

This plan would allow immediate accumulation of proceeds from property sales for sharing with the countries of the world, encourage commercial development of the resources and energy available on the Moon, while preserving space access for countries that might otherwise be left out of space access, if space access were left uncontrolled or unregulated.

Previous landing sites of both Soviet spacecraft, and United States spacecraft should definitely be preserved as Mankind Heritage sites, along with ample property around them to shield and preserve them, perhaps 500 square kilometers around each landing site. As China is preparing to launch Lunar probes in the near future, as a gesture of goodwill perhaps the UN could allow 3 or 4 China landing sites for whenever and wherever they might land, if they do not encroach on previous landing sites, or previously registered “Homesteads.”

It has been observed that important or more desirable locations on the Moon should be reserved for those countries that are now active in developing space, such as the US, Russia, Japan, France, and so on. This effort is misguided, in that doing so would convince the non-developing nations that the process was unfair, and we intend to promote development of the Moon’s resources, we would want to encourage every nation to participate. Also, if a non-developing nation were to acquire a highly desirable location through this system, yet not be in a position, or have the inclination to develop the resources, the result would be that they would lease their property to organizations or countries that were in a position to develop the property. They would benefit without having to invest their effort, and those who wanted to develop the Moon’s resources would be able to.

The remaining clauses of the original Outer Space Treaty of 1967 would be fully applicable, including no further national appropriation, no weapons of mass destruction, use and development only for peaceful purposes, States liable for damage caused by their space objects, and avoiding harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.

If we don’t develop the resources on the Moon, mankind could be stuck on this rock forever. Development of the Moon is imperative.

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