Extraterrestrial real estate

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The Moon as seen by an observer from Earth. It is claimed as private property by several individuals.[1][2]

Extraterrestrial real estate refers to claims of land ownership on other planets, natural satellites, or parts of space by certain organizations or individuals. Previous claims are not recognized by any authority, and have no legal standing. Nevertheless, some private individuals and organizations have claimed ownership of celestial bodies, such as the Moon, and are actively involved in "selling" parts of them through certificates of ownership termed "Lunar deeds", "Martian deeds" or similar.  While personal claims have little weight, whole countries could potentially lay claim to colonizing certain bodies. Extraterrestrial Real Estate not only deals with the legal standpoints of potential colonization, but how it could be feasible for long-term real estate. There are multiple factors to consider in using another planet for real estate including how to create a real estate market, transportation, planetary protection, astrobiology, sustainability, and the orbital real estate of the planet, as well.

History[edit]

The topic of real estate on celestial objects has been present since the 1890s. Dean Lindsay made claims for all extraterrestrial objects on June 15, 1936. The public sent offers to buy objects from him as well.[3]

After the Apollo Mission in the 1960s, more individuals began formulating plans to explore extraterrestrial bodies. In 1991, Robert Zubrin proposed the Mars Direct program, the first program to propose an affordable well-detailed plan to get humans on Mars.His plan involved using a chemical propulsion system to allow for a launch vehicle to travel from the surface of the Earth to Mars's surface. Upon arrival, the vehicle would use its In Situ Propellant Production (ISPP) system to allow for refueling of the rocket, and harnessing gases like methane and ozone from Mars’ atmosphere.[4]

Zubrin’s ideas were viewed as optimistic by many but led to NASA’s involvement in developing missions to Mars. In 1991 NASA proposed the Space Transfer Concepts and Analyses of Exploration Missions (STCAEM) mission which was the first to propose an aerobraking system to allow for planetary capture.[4]

In May 1991, President Bush announced U.S. support for a mission to Mars and proposed an idea for combining Zubrin’s Mars Direct Program and NASA’s STCAEM. The resulting mission was called Mars Semi-Direct.[4]  It projected lower costs estimates with a longer time on the red planet: 460 days.[4]

Legal issues[edit]

The United Nations sponsored 1967 "Outer Space Treaty" established all of outer space as an international commons by describing it as the "province of all mankind" and forbidding all the nations from claiming territorial sovereignty.[5] Article VI vests the responsibility for activities in space to States Parties, regardless of whether they are carried out by governments or non-governmental entities. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 had been ratified by 102 countries by 2013,[6] including all the major space-faring nations. It has also been signed but not yet ratified by 26 other nations.[7]

A subsequent treaty document, the international Moon Treaty—finalised in 1979 (just five countries had ratified it by 1984, but five countries was sufficient for it to be considered officially "in force")—went further and forbade private ownership of extraterrestrial real estate.[8] This agreement has not been widely ratified.[6][9] with only 18 countries having ratified it by 2018.[10]

Several individuals and private organizations claimed ownership of the moon and other extraterrestrial bodies, but no such claims have yet been recognized. A white paper by the Competitive Enterprise Institute suggested legislation whereby the US would recognize claims made by private entities, American and others, which meet certain conditions regarding habitation and transportation.[11]

Private purchase schemes[edit]

A number of individuals and organizations offer schemes or plans claiming to allow people to purchase portions of the Moon or other celestial bodies. Though the details of some of the schemes' legal arguments vary, one goes so far as to state that although the Outer Space Treaty, which entered force in 1967, forbids countries from claiming celestial bodies, there is no such provision forbidding private individuals from doing so. However, Article VI of this treaty states "The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty." Thus, while it does not explicitly prohibit such schemes, the treaty does require they be authorized by the schemers' government.

The short story The Man Who Sold the Moon by Robert A. Heinlein, which was written in 1949, offers a portrayal regarding such plans or schemes, and created the concept of a Lunar Republic. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land also makes reference to a space law case called the Larkin Decision.

Geostationary orbits[edit]

A space ownership issue of current practical importance is the allocation of slots for satellites in geostationary orbit. This is managed by the International Telecommunication Union. The 1976 Declaration of the First Meeting of Equatorial Countries, also known as the Bogotá Declaration, signed by several countries located on the Earth's equator, attempted to assert sovereignty over those portions of the geostationary orbit that continuously lie over the signatory nation's territory.[12] These claims did not receive wider international support or recognition and were subsequently largely abandoned.

Real estate market[edit]

When landing on an extraterrestrial planet, the first thing to do is to search for a cave or lava tube. One may find it by doing pre-arrival research basing their location on satellite reconnaissance and previous work done by robots.[13] There is a certain standard when picking a location on the Moon or Mars. Astronauts must find an area that is protected from radiation and has room for equipment as well as room to repair them.[14]  Resources that are included in the rover are tools, robots, and other types of scientific equipment. A lunar vehicle called the Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle (MMSEV) will serve as a temporary home when first landing on an extraterrestrial planet.[13] This type of lunar vehicle can fit two astronauts for around 14 days. If there are any technical issues with the rover or any equipment inside, the astronauts will need room to fix it inside their inhabited cave.[4] Robots will be utilized to track the astronauts' visual data to determine if the cave is safe to live in. This data that the robot analyzes will be sent to the Mission Control on Earth to ensure it is safe for the astronauts to settle.[13]

An alternative housing on an extraterrestrial planet while searching for a substantial cave or lava tube could be a “Mars Ice Home.” It is an inflatable home that is lightweight and surrounded by a shell of water ice.[14] It is a great alternative if the astronauts are nomads and are looking to explore and experiment with the planet. The water in the ice home can also be used as rocket fuel for a rover. Another reason why the Ice Home could be so valuable is that it can protect the astronauts from radiation instead of going underground to protect themselves.[14]

There are often issues with a location such as large rubble that blocks the entrance to the cave. If the astronauts come across a cave with blockage and want to explore it, they will need to use a robot to do the heavy lifting.[13] An ideal cave would be roughly 20 feet high (or taller) and 40 feet wide. There are many questions to ask when evaluating a cave. For example, is there rubble? Is the cave stable? Is there enough space for the equipment? Astronauts will want to look for an entrance that is horizontal and not on a slope, for best living conditions. When it comes to vertical caves, the risks are much more significant as the infrastructure is too complicated for an astronaut's first mission to Mars.[13] Evaluating and digging up vertical caves will have to be done after several missions to extraterrestrial planets. Once the crew arrives at a habitable cave, they will set up an inflatable and pressurized tent that will last a long time.[13] A location with water ice, suitability for landing, and having a skylight entrance is essential. When choosing a landing spot, astronauts have to think about if they want to use the same landing site when they come back on another mission. Ideally, NASA recommends studying at a single site because they can continue to build up a base that will last them a long time.[4] On the other hand, landing at different locations every time astronauts go to the same extraterrestrial planet may benefit the scientific community as they will have more information to work with.

Transportation[edit]

Transportation into space is primarily driven by how much payload needs to be transported. Therefore, a launch vehicle is sized based on the mass of the payload it will carry and propellant choices are made based on how long the mission is. The Atlas-V rocket was chosen for the 2020 mission of the Perseverance Rover to Mars because it can support liftoff from Earth and inject into Mars orbit fulfilling the weight requirements of carrying the rover.[15]

Atlas-V specifications and mass requirements[edit]

The Atlas-V rocket is 191 feet (58 meters) tall with the payload integrated and carries 1.17 million lb (531,000 kg) of fuel when it is fully filled.[16] It is made up of two stages: a lower stage where the common core booster resides and an upper stage that houses the fuel, oxidizers, and the Mars Perseverance Rover payload. The lower stage is 106.5 feet (32.46 meters) in length and 12.5 feet (3.81 meters) in diameter and will function to bring the launch vehicle into Low Earth-Orbit.[15] The upper stage, known as Centaur, will then take over and propel the spacecraft out of Earth’s orbit to Mars. Having a multi-stage launch vehicle is crucial to planning a mission to Mars because a single-stage does not have enough propulsion to propel the entire mission.

Atlas-V propulsion specifications and requirements[edit]

The Atlas-V has four solid rocket motor boosters attached to its first stage which allow for an increased thrust of 306,000 pounds (1.36 million newtons) of thrust per booster.[15] Its second stage switches to a liquid propulsion system where liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen are used creating 22,300 pounds (99,200 Newtons) of thrust.[15] With these two forms of propulsion working one after the other the Atlas-V can produce enough delta-V to escape Earth-Orbit, travel millions of miles across space, maneuver into trans-Mars injection and perform a landing on the red planet’s surface.

Planetary protection[edit]

Planetary protection is the practice of ensuring other bodies are not contaminated by Earth’s life and protecting Earth from other potential forms of life.[17] This practice has been agreed upon by the UN, and is used by all acting space agencies.[17] Currently, the main focus of protecting planets is preventing the forward contamination of other worlds to ensure the integrity of its biomaterial. If humans were to travel to Mars and accidentally leave traces of Earth biomatter, future missions could confuse this as original life on Mars. Therefore, in order to guarantee the origins of extraterrestrial life, all material interacting with a potential planet must be sterilized and meet stringent requirements before it may leave Earth.[17] Spacecrafts can be assembled in an ultra-clean room, which maintains a completely sterile environment. Clean rooms usually consist of nutrient-poor air (to prevent microbial growth), are regularly disinfected, and have a constant flow of filtered air.[18] Another method of planetary protection is controlling the backward contamination of life from other planets coming to Earth. As no evidence of life has been brought back to Earth thus far, it poses less of a threat than forward contamination. However, if life were to be brought into our planet, it would have to be quarantined and thoroughly tested first to confirm that the sample is not carrying any harmful pathogens or has been contaminated at all.

Categories of planetary protection[edit]

There are four different categories of planetary protection for a mission, each with its own set of regulations. The destination and type of mission determine the category awarded, which is based on the target’s potential for life or clues about chemical evolution.[17] If the mission is riskier, the category is higher. Orbiters or fly-bys are deemed less risky than lander missions, as there is no direct contact with the surface (though there remains a possibility of crashing). Bodies with no potential are deemed Category 1, which include spacecrafts that will travel to the Sun or Mercury, as these planets are deemed too harsh to support life or show signs of chemical evolution.[17] Therefore, there are no mission requirements relating to planetary protection. Planets that hold interest regarding life or evolution but have little chance for contamination by a spacecraft are classified as Category 2.[18] Target bodies may include Venus, Saturn, Uranus, the Moon, or other bodies with little chance of life. These missions require small amounts of documentation, possibly including short plans which outline how the target will be protected and pre- and post-launch analysis. Fly-bys or orbiters whose target planet may present signs of life or evolution are deemed Category 3.[18] The mission also may pose a risk of contamination of the body. The requirements, thus, are more stringent as more precautionary measures must be taken. Some of these requirements may include more documentation, the use of clean rooms, and bioburden reduction.[17] Target bodies for this category, as well as all of the remaining categories, include the most promising bodies such Mars, Europa, and Enceladus. Category 4 deals with the same aspects as 3, except instead of orbiters, this category pertains to landers that will reach the target’s surface.[18] The requirements for this mission become increasingly strict, including, “detailed documentation (more involved than that for Category III), bioassays to enumerate the burden, a probability of contamination analysis, an inventory of the bulk constituent organics and an increased number of implementing procedures. The latter may include trajectory biasing, the use of clean rooms (Class 100,000 or better) during spacecraft assembly and testing, bioload reduction, possible partial sterilization of the hardware having direct contact with the target body, and a bioshield for that hardware, and, in rare cases, a complete sterilization of the entire spacecraft”.[17] Evidently, the jump from Category 3 to 4 brings the most improvements to the necessary mission restrictions. From Category 4 and up, there are serious risks of contaminating potential life and ruining the integrity of these bodies. These missions outline our first points of contact with these target bodies, and must be stringent so that other missions will be able to obtain accurate data, as well. Category 5 pertains to any missions that will return samples to Earth.[17] This category deals with not only the forward contamination of the bodies and the need for clean rooms and pre-launch inspections, but the backward contamination and the need for many more post-launch operations. The outgoing requirements stay similar to category 4, but gain the additional incoming requirements: “the absolute prohibition of destructive impact upon return; the need for containment throughout the return phase of all returning hardware, which directly contacted the target body or unsterilized material from the body; and the need for containment of any unsterilized samples collected and returned to Earth. Post-mission, there is a need to conduct timely analyses of the returned unsterilized samples, under strict containment, and using the most sensitive techniques. If any sign of the existence of a non terrestrial replicating organism is found, the returned sample must remain contained unless treated by an effective sterilization procedure”.[17] When returning samples, there is a risk of contamination of our own planet through foreign microbes or pathogens. If the spacecraft were to crash land on Earth, these potentially harmful souvenirs could cause serious damage to life here. Therefore, these samples must be thoroughly tested in order to make sure they pose to risk before being released. These stringent requirements are in place for Category 5 restricted bodies, which includes any potential life-harboring body. There is also an unrestricted Category 5 which imposes little regulations on samples returning from barren bodies such as Venus or the Moon, where life has been deemed nonexistent.[17] The only previous Category 5 restricted missions were a part of the Apollo program to the Moon, however now those same missions would be of unrestricted use. As the only mission that is currently funded or approved for Mars sample return, the Mars 2020 mission, also named Perseverance, will be the first test case of Earth’s backward contamination policies.[19]

Astrobiology[edit]

In order to inhabit other extraterrestrial real estates like Moon and Mars, knowing how to grow plants is an important factor to include.  Astrobiology will play a vital role in successful extraterrestrial living.  It is important to learn and know how to grow plants in space, and how the same technology can be applied to human habitants of other plants.  In 2014, Expedition 39 flew to the International Space Station to start growing food in space.[20]  Astronauts and scientists in space and on Earth have been working, analyzing, and conducting tests to verify the validity and edibility of these foods and whether or not they provide the same nutrients as its version naturally grown on Earth.[20]  These food analysis tests were conducted on plants grown from both zinnias and romaine lettuce seeds in space.[20]  When Expedition 44 flew to the International Space Station in 2015, astronauts ate the food being grown on the International Space Station for the first time.[20]  Humans are now growing plants and fresh food in microgravity, and on August 10, 2015, astronauts tasted their first crop: red romaine lettuce.[20]

Veggie Plant Growth System[edit]

The Veggie Plant Growth System, also known as Veg-01, is the apparatus being used in space in order to test, plant, grow, and harvest plants and vegetables.[21]  Although Astronauts did eat the lettuce they grew, half of it was rationed for an experiment back on Earth.[21]  Veg-01 uses LED lights of red, blue, and green in order to promote plant growth and simplify observation.[20][21]  When the LED lights overlap, they emit a purple to pink color onto the plants.[20][21]  Wavelengths emitted by the red and blue LED lights are the minimum needed in order to motivate and push energy conversion, specifically electrical energy transformation, to foster plant growth.[20]  In addition, each seed is placed in a plant pillow, also known as a root mat, where they receive 100 milliliters of water for plant growth, fertilizer, and calcined clay.[21]  Astronauts clean plants they grow with citric acid sanitary wipes, which are compatible with food.[20]  Citric acid wipes are not a harm for the astronauts because they can be found in most fruits in the lemon and lime family, giving plants a more sour taste, and can be used for cleaning.[20]  

The Veggie Plant Growth System has significant long term effects.  In human’s plight to expand their reach in the solar system, this technology will have to be used in order for humans to survive on extraterrestrial real estate, and thus part of NASA’s Journey to Mars mission.[20]  If humans want to move and live on extraterrestrial planets, the Veggie Plant Growth System must be used and expanded in order to maintain longevity.   Astronauts currently have the food supply brought from Earth and in addition to romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and blueberries that can also be grown on the International Space Station, giving astronauts a fun activity to do while in space as well as the ability to access fresh food.[20]

Planting on extraterrestrial real estate[edit]

When it comes to agriculture on extraterrestrial planets, scientists must examine its soil and compare it to those of Earth.  In addition to having the Veggie Plant Growth System powered by an energy supply on these extraterrestrial planets, we must know how to fully accustom ourselves to the soil of planets, like Mars.

Soil of Earth and Mars[edit]

Earth’s soil is made up of micronutrients and macronutrients including iron, manganese, zinc, copper, molybdenum, boron, chlorine, oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.[22]  All of these elements can be found in Mars’s soil as well and fertilizers can be used on both planets too.[22] However, the magnitude of each element in the soil differs from Earth and may vary depending on where the astronauts land on Mars.[22]  Mars also has a salty chemical compound known as calcium perchlorate.[23]  Although unhealthy, or even toxic, when eaten in mass amounts, calcium perchlorate has huge beneficial effects on astronauts including calcium perchlorate’s ability to suck up water from the air, releasing water, and giving off oxygen.[23]  By putting calcium perchlorate in the right setting of a warmer environment, astronauts can use its water for drinking, farming, cleaning, bathing, etc.[23]  Currently, NASA is doing experiments where they are replicating Mars’s soil in order to evaluate its fertility for planting purposes as well as experiment with the different ways it can be used.[24]

Plants[edit]

Mars has certain risk factors for plants including but not limited to, calcium perchlorate, drought, very cold soil averaging around -81 degrees Fahrenheit, cosmic rays, and UV Rays.[24][25]

Water on Mars and the Moon[edit]

On the Moon, water ice lies in craters near lunar poles and polar regions, close to the surface.[13]  Water ice forms when oxygen molecules on the Moon’s surface mix with hydrogen molecules being pushed by winds in space.[13]  On Mars, a radar in a NASA spacecraft orbiting the planet found that an underground layer, between 1–10 meters below the surface, has water ice with ice, rock particles and dust, taking up more than 50% of it.[13][26]  Mars has more water than Lake Superior, larger than the biggest of the United States of America's Great Lakes.[13][26]  However, the layer of water ice cannot reach the surface of Mars because the sun and UV rays will turn it to water vapor instantly, or get consumed by calcium perchlorate.  Water can be found on Mars in terms of the water ice layer, liquid water (when calcium perchlorate is used correctly), permafrost, and water vapor.[23][27]

Water ice can be found in caves also known as lava tubes on the Moon and Mars.  When getting to these caves, astronauts must consider plans for human operations, housing, landing, transportation, and tools to deal with rough terrain.[13]  In terms of living in caves, astronauts must consider abnormal configurations in the planet’s geometry, caves being fragile, how to deal with not having access to a lot of light, and less exposure to UV rays (protects humans from radiation).[13]  Astronauts must be aware that these caves are habitable and have easier access to water ice.[13]  They will also have to go through an array of procedures when they get to the water ice.  These processes include a decontamination process, extraction process, development of standard operating procedures in order to experiment and analyze the water ice, verifying if the water is pure, drinkable, and usable, as well as how to return samples back to Earth for future experimentation.  The finding of water ice also will let astronauts possibly make huge discoveries.  Therefore, when astronauts find the water ice, they can be in the presence of possible biology and extraterrestrial life.

Sustainability[edit]

In order to live sustainably on extraterrestrial planets like Mars and the Moon, humans will need to live sustainability in order to survive and thrive.  In order to successfully live on extraterrestrial planets, humans must learn independence from Earth and create new systems to obtain the necessities of a long, lasting life. There must be sustainable agricultural, housing, medical, and other economic industries, as well as access to water, oxygen, sunlight, communication, and social interaction.[28][29]  When it comes to living on Mars, the necessities of food supply and agriculture, oxygen, sunlight are unique.[28][29]  In terms of the Mars environment, it is expensive to constantly ship packages of food from Earth to Mars; Mars is 95% carbon dioxide; and Earth receives twice the amount of sunlight Mars gets due to its distance from the sun and due to the lack of clouds, Mars has much higher magnitudes of cosmic and UV rays than those of Earth.[24][25]

Human existence all started from plants and water, they are the signs of life.  Plants and water are thus the key of creating a sustainable, long lasting life on the Moon and Mars.  Humans became the dominant species because humans can collaborate in big numbers and flexibly (communicate over long distances or in small groups), while most animals can only do one or the other.[30]  As one can see, communication is a very important factor to successfully inhabiting and experimenting on extraterrestrial real estate.  Although we were able to communicate with astronauts on the Moon, as done back in 1969, Mars is a bit different.[28]  Currently, astronauts on the International Space Station communicate to humans on Earth through Mission Control.[28]  But, when it comes to Mars, there are time delays between 4 minutes and 24 minutes since the distance between the two planets is about 35.8 million miles.[28]  As seen in Mars Curiosity Rover, communication between Earth and Mars can even take days, due to communication signals between Mars's surface, satellites in space, and Earth.[31]  One of the antennas being used is the NASA Deep Space Network which allows for communication between Earth and those on space missions to the Moon, International Space Station, and Mars.[31]

Orbital real estate[edit]

A spot of space debris illuminates in the night sky

A prominent environmental impact on extraterrestrial planets is space debris. Human-made objects left in space pollute the specific planet and take up prime real estate, causing a big problem.  If orbital debris continues to build up, parts of space near the earth will become so polluted that certain operations will not be attainable.[32] To remove the damage already done by human-made objects, astronauts will need to bring specific hardware into space to exterminate the debris. Once cleared, the surrounding space around a planet can then be used for more real estate opportunities. There are specific orbits, however, that have caused ownership debate.  Even a spec of space debris is clearly visible in the night sky.

Geostationary orbits[edit]

A space ownership issue of current practical importance is the allocation of slots for satellites in geostationary orbit. This is managed by the International Telecommunication Union. The 1976 Declaration of the First Meeting of Equatorial Countries, also known as the Bogotá Declaration, signed by several countries located on the Earth's equator, attempted to assert sovereignty over those portions of the geostationary orbit that continuously lie over the signatory nation's territory. These claims did not receive wider international support or recognition and were subsequently largely abandoned.

Environmental effects of launching[edit]

The effect of launching a rocket on the environment is largely dependent on the propulsion system chosen for the vehicle. Solid rocket motors contribute further to ozone depletion and global warming compared to liquid propulsion motors because solids release chlorides that pollute the atmosphere. A solid rocket motor is typically made up of ammonium perchlorate as an oxygen source and aluminum as a fuel.[33] In contrast, a liquid propulsion system does not release any gases that pose direct harm to the environment since they use liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen (LOx). Liquid systems indirectly increase global warming because hydrogen emissions cause increases in levels of methane and ozone.

Hisitory to modern-day environmental impacts[edit]

The launch vehicle Robert Zubrin proposed for the Mars Direct program would use six tons of hydrogen from Earth to get to Mars.[4] With six tons of hydrogen emissions, each launch would be as harmful to the environment as the average car is in emitting CO2 each year.

In more recent years, Curiosity the Mars rover has discovered traces of methane on the red planet.[15] While scientists don’t know where it is coming from, reports have confirmed that methane levels tend to vary according to the time of year and can be harnessed for fuel for spacecraft. This would mean the mission to Mars would need to be strategically planned to optimize on fuel needed for the astronauts to make their way back home from the red planet.

Through other parts of the mission like the Trans-Mars Injection where the launch vehicle enters into Mars’ orbit, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen would be used along with fuels in the propulsion system.[4] Unlike solid propulsion, liquid propulsion leaves less of a carbon footprint. Propellant like this has shown to produce water vapour exhaust, which is not as harmful to the environment as solid rocket motors can be.

Companies like SpaceX have already long been using liquid propulsion systems. Solid rocket motors are primarily used for boosters to provide extra propulsion to supplement the main liquid engine as in the case of the Space Shuttle.

Impacts of Space Shuttle on environment[edit]

The Space Shuttle was the most taxing launch in terms of how much exhaust was released into the atmosphere. The vehicle was made up of 2.2 million pounds of solid rocket fuel used by the solid rocket boosters (SRBs) strapped to the side of the rocket and 1.6 million pounds of liquid rocket fuel, used in the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME).  According to calculations predicted by the NASA thermochemical code SDAO3, the ratio of HCl to Cl emitted from the SRBs is about 10:1.[33] Generally, this is not enough to have a significant impact on the ozone layer however the impact depends on the altitude at which the motor released the most amount of exhaust gases. If deposited in the stratosphere, the gases have the most potential to damage the ozone layer. During flight, NASA recorded that the SRBs finish their burn around 40–45 km, which means 30–40% of their burn occurs in the stratosphere.[33] In contrast, the SSMEs typically release most of their exhaust in the Mesosphere which means they have no impact on ozone depletion since they have already passed the ozone layer.

From data collection and research performed by scientists worldwide, the impacts of rocket emissions on ozone depletion currently lie between 0.00004% and 0.00005%.[33]

Notable claims[edit]

Chilean lawyer Jenaro Gajardo Vera became famous for his 1953 claim of ownership of the Moon.[3]

Martin Juergens from Germany claims that the Moon has belonged to his family since July 15, 1756, when the Prussian king Frederick the Great presented it to his ancestor Aul Juergens as a symbolic gesture of gratitude for services rendered, and decreed that it should pass to the youngest born son.[34]

A. Dean Lindsay made claims for all extraterrestrial objects on June 15, 1936, and sent a letter to Pittsburgh Notary Public along with a deed and money for establishment of the property. The public sent offers to buy objects from him as well.[3] He had previously made claims on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.[35]

James T. Mangan (1896–1970) was a famous eccentric, public relations man and best-selling author on self-help topics who publicly claimed ownership of outer space in 1948. Mangan founded what he called the Nation of Celestial Space and registered it with the Recorder of Deeds and Titles of Cook County, Illinois, on January 1, 1949.[36]

Robert R. Coles, former chairman of New York's Hayden Planetarium, started "the interplanetary Development Corporation"[37] and sold lots on the moon for one dollar per acre ($2.50/ha).[38]

Dennis Hope, an American entrepreneur, sells extraterrestrial real estate.[39] In 1980, he started his own business, the Lunar Embassy Commission.[40] As of 2009 Hope claimed to have sold 2.5M 1-acre (0.40 ha; 4,000 m2) plots on the Moon, for around US$20 per acre ($50/ha). He allocates land to be sold by closing his eyes and randomly pointing to a map of the Moon. He claims two former US presidents as customers, stating Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan had aides purchase the plots on the moon.[41][42]

In 1997, Adam Ismail, Mustafa Khalil and Abdullah al-Umari, three men from Yemen, sued NASA for invading Mars. They claim that they "inherited the planet from our ancestors 3,000 years ago", before the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[43] They based their argument on mythologies of the Himyaritic and Sabaean civilizations that existed several thousand years B.C.[44]

Gregory W. Nemitz claimed ownership of Asteroid 433 Eros, on which NEAR Shoemaker landed in 2001. His company, called "Orbital Development",[45] issued NASA an invoice of $20 for parking the spacecraft at the asteroid. NASA declined to pay, citing the lack of legal standing.[46]

Richard Garriott, computer game designer and astronaut's son, legitimately purchased the Lunokhod 2 lunar lander from the Russian Space Agency. Since then he jokingly claimed the rest of the Moon in the name of his gaming character, Lord British.[47]

Future of extraterrestrial real estate[edit]

NASA is currently looking into launching a Moon mission in 2024 to experiment and analyze the lunar surface of the Moon, finding sustainable ways of living on extraterrestrial planets.[48]   Although this 2024 mission will focus on sustainable living and creating new technologies on the Moon, this mission has the goal of being a jumping point for the first astronauts to land on Mars.[48]  During this mission, astronauts will be innovating technologies, having human and robotic activities to experiment on the Moon's surface and orbit, as well as analyzing, building, and experimenting with sustainable elements.[48]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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