Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

Property Rights In Space? 269

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-forward-to-the-2049-dilithium-rush dept.
ATKeiper writes "A number of companies have announced plans in the last couple of years to undertake private development of space. There are asteroid-mining proposals backed by Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, various moon-mining proposals, and, announced just this month, a proposed moon-tourism venture. But all of these — especially the efforts to mine resources in space — are hampered by the fact that existing treaties, like the Outer Space Treaty, seem to prohibit private ownership of space resources. A new essay in The New Atlantis revisits the debates about property rights in space and examines a proposal that could resolve the stickiest treaty problems and make it possible to stake claims in space."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Property Rights In Space?

Comments Filter:
  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:15PM (#42339741) Homepage Journal
    There's plenty of space out in space!
    • When you are mining an asteroid as it's passing by Earth, ownership is determined by who has the most/biggest guns in the immediate vicinity.

      And once you transport it back to Earth, it most definitely is yours.

      For the most obvious example, see the treatment by the US gov't of the so-called "moon rocks". They claim ownership of every bit even after giving away a bunch of it to other countries.

      • by aurispector (530273) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:07PM (#42340603)

        Considering the enormous expense and effort that went into obtaining those moon rocks, it's not surprising they were technically "loaned" rather than "given away" as you mistakenly assert.

        The point is there needs to be a legal framework in place so such expenditures are protected. The only way to spur private space exploration is to make it possible to profit from it. Otherwise it's simply a huge waste of money - what benefit does humanity derive from, say, letting the hyper rich shoot themselves into orbit for a short while?

        Extraterrestrial resource extraction could mean endless supplies of things like rare earth minerals needed for high tech manufacturing. You do like cheap computers and cell phones, don't you?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by thereitis (2355426)

          The point is there needs to be a legal framework in place so such expenditures are protected.

          I suggest that for starters treating all space bodies as public domain is the best way to go.

          Otherwise, how do you separate people with plans in motion to go there from those who are merely being 'patent trolls' by claiming something and doing nothing with it? Or claiming something with the specific purpose of making sure someone else can't make use of it?

          Having ownership in space seems destined to create an 'a

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by GoogleShill (2732413)

            Think of all the time (money) a company will need to spend to figure out the best place to set up a mine on an asteroid in order to extract enough material to make it worthwhile. Why would they go through those efforts when a competitor can just wait for them to do that, then setup a new mine right next to it? The competitor can then undercut the original company's profits immensely as they have no R&D expenses to pay.

            That's what I see happening with the public domain option you speak of, and it is on

          • We're talking about actual, physical matter here. Scarcity is a natural property of the system.

            And we have thousands of years of experience dealing with such problems. It's not like property is a recent concept.

          • by Dyolf Knip (165446) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @09:40PM (#42343717) Homepage

            Well, stuff in space _is_ scarce, in the sense that it's not infinite, that is. Sure, there's _a lot_ of non-stellar mass in the solar system, but the parts of it that are easily accessible with current technology is really pretty limited. Luna, Apollo asteroids, and the occasional comet, mostly. And to make things even trickier, what happens when people start living out there permanently? That chunk of rock will be just as much 'their' property as any piece of terra firma.

            Start with the simplest way to handle ownership claims and see where that goes: You have to go out and stick a flag on it to even have a shot at such a claim being legit. In person, or will a probe suffice? Define "probe"; don't want anyone spamming the surface of Mars with 1" radio cubes and claiming the entire planet as a result. For that reason, I'm inclined to limit ownership claims solely to putting boots on the ground. You own your unmanned probe and anything in produces using unowned resources (so automated factories are allowed), but the body as a whole is still up for grabs.

            Of course, how much can you claim? The entire asteroid/cometplanet? Well that sucks. The EU founds a small colony on Mars just a few weeks ahead of the US and Chinese, so they get the whole pie? I guess you could make it a function of how many people you actually have there, but do they have to be there permanently?

            And hey, who's going to enforce all this anyway? Considering the potential riches involved, nobody is going to accept a UN ruling that means that country A gets the piece of rock that country B just spent $10 billion putting a mining facility on because A sent a suicide volunteer on a one-way trip to put them on said rock before B.

            I suspect that in the end, the 'border's will be decided in the traditional way. Namely, guys with guns moving them around until they conclude that getting a bigger piece of the pie for themselves would be more trouble than it's worth.

      • by Githaron (2462596)

        When you are mining an asteroid as it's passing by Earth, ownership is determined by who has the most/biggest guns in the immediate vicinity.

        In other words, the same rules as we have on Earth. A government claims a land because they want it and they have the means to defend it against other claims. Said government then "sells" pieces of said land to its citizens.

        • Nasty Twist (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Roger W Moore (538166) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @07:23PM (#42342543) Journal

          In other words, the same rules as we have on Earth. A government claims a land because they want it and they have the means to defend it...

          Sort of...but with a nasty twist. Whoever has control of large amounts of material in space and the ability to transport it back to earth will actually have the biggest guns. So if we let corporations loose in space without some viable means to prevent large chunks of rock hitting the Earth they will end up not just with more spending power than governments but with more military might than them too. I'm not sure this is a good environment for democracy to flourish.

      • by tattood (855883)

        And once you transport it back to Earth, it most definitely is yours.

        That presumes that the space pirates don't steal it from you first!

    • How does one delineate property borders in space? Orbits with respect to earth's location? The sun's? From Lagrange points? How do I know if you're leaving your space junk in my space-yard?

      Serious question.

  • plan B just patent stuff needed to get to space even if it's just the smallest of things.

    • by Githaron (2462596)
      Those patents wouldn't be worth much if no one can claim ownership of the things that they bring back with the patented technology.
  • I already bought all the best bits of moon. Now get off my land!

    • by dimeglio (456244)

      I claim all inhabitable planets in all galaxies to be mine. Except for two which I offer to my wife.

    • by Shark (78448)

      Private property already barely exists on earth... Fat chance of that in space. As a previous poster said, it all boils down to the larger guns and that makes it a government-only game in space and on earth. If your government is nice, it can let you pretend that the property is yours (at a recurring cost of course) so long as it doesn't need it for its own ends.

  • TL;DR? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:19PM (#42339793) Homepage Journal

    Short version (it's a very long article)

    There is precedent in the U.S. federal government's history of land grants to railroad corporations -- once the corporation owned the land, it had a strong incentive to increase the land's value by laying track. The situations are not quite parallel: in that case, the land rights only covered surface uses, not mineral rights; and of course, in the case of the Moon, the federal government has no land to grant. But while the general recognition of secured property rights would here take the place of grants from a previous governmental owner, the central premise still applies.

    In the scenario envisioned here, the government would recognize claims and register titles, and claimants could then begin to grant, sell, and trade property deeds.

    • So, the moon plot that I bought isn't really mine?
      • by chill (34294)

        Only if you go there and plant little flags to mark the boundaries of the claim.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jeffmeden (135043)

      In the scenario envisioned here, the government would recognize claims and register titles, and claimants could then begin to grant, sell, and trade property deeds.

      Don't forget, that if you are short on cash you can sell the improvements for half their price, flip the deed over and mortgage it.

      Oops, this is about the moon, sorry, I had it confused with a different fictional scenario.

    • by jythie (914043)
      The question would be how to resolve governmental control, which government can grant which chunks of land to who, and what laws people on those plots need to follow.

      Arguments about regulation aside... I think most of us can agree that private space countries that do not even have the pretense of a judicial system are a scary concept.... and not one that has historically gone very well.
  • all of these — especially the efforts to mine resources in space — are hampered by the fact that existing treaties, like the Outer Space Treaty, seem to prohibit private ownership of space resources

    That is one problem, but a somewhat bigger problem is that nobody has yet come up with a plan to mine moon rocks and return them to earth where the cost of the missions doesn't greatly exceed the value of the rocks.

    That's why, unsurprisingly, even folks like Jain who claim [theweek.com] that "private companies can

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Just wait. Eventually various materials will become rare or entirely used, and the value of the rocks won't matter. You need it.

      • by jythie (914043)
        Maybe, maybe not. Unless there is some breakthrough, moving stuff into orbit will continue to be very expensive, probably more expensive then increasingly advanced recycling techniques.
        • Unless there is some breakthrough, moving stuff into orbit will continue to be very expensive

          If only there was stuff already *in* orbit. If only people were planning means of accessing the stuff that's already in orbit. Alas...

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          If you need it, and the only way to get it is expensive launching, then you will either eat the cost or you will find a way to do it cheaper ("you" in this case meaning whomever needs it, or us in general).

          Recycling won't get us any more material than we already had. Eventually that will not be enough.

      • You wrote

        and the value of the rocks won't matter.

        If you need it, and the material is very scarce. Its value will matter a great deal. Its value will become very high. This in relation to both its utility and scarcity.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          You seem to be missing a point yourself: the value doesn't matter here. If it's needed, it will be obtained. Sure, it might cost you a lot, but that is not my point.

          • The value of something is exactly what you're willing to pay for it. Saying that something is needed is just another way of saying that its value is greater than any potential cost. The idea that "the value doesn't matter" is nonsense. This entire thread is about nothing but value; whether you realize it or not, you're saying that the value of these materials is greater than the cost of going to space to mine them.

    • by w_dragon (1802458)
      The plan Page/Schmidt had involved using the rocks to build things in orbit, not sending down the rocks. The idea being that creating the heavy infrastructure for space stations could be done without having to get it out of the gravity well. The price they're chasing is the price of launching rockets with giant chunks of space station attached, not the price of raw materials on Earth. Not to say that they're anywhere near capturing an asteroid and figuring out how to refine ores in space, but I hear they
  • Homesteading (Score:3, Informative)

    by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:21PM (#42339829)
    Governments tend to prefer to pretend that natural rights don't exist, imagining that the rights of the people come from THEM. But the truth is that they do exist. Homesteading is one such right. By mixing one's labor with the land, whether it is rolling plain, or an asteroid, one gains ownership of that land.

    Governments have the guns though. But then, the space miners would have the asteroids, so I would guess that they would leave them be after the first asteroid made a near miss of the planet.
    • Re:Homesteading (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:29PM (#42339943)

      Your 'homesteading' right is ultimately defeated by an even more natural right: The right of he who has the sniper rifle to shoot you and your family from a safe distance, then come loot your home and take over your land.

      Rights are an artificial construct, and exist only so long as they can be enforced either directly (Employ enough guards to secure your home against any threat) or indirectly (Have a government that will, reasonably reliably, either defend you or remove the economic incentive for attack by finding and imprisoning the attacker afterwards). A right that is not in some way backed up by physical force simply doesn't exist: You can whine all you want about your 'right' to property, but it won't do you one bit of good if there isn't ultimately the threat of violence to back it up.

      In space violence isn't very practical, so property rights would be backed up by the threat of governmental seizure of the earthbound assets of offending companies or individuals... and again, you still need the men with guns sitting around somewhere just in case a CEO converts all company product to gold and tries to hide it in an abandoned mine. Not that any of them would be that stupid, because they know that if they defy a court ruling long enough sooner or later violence will happen.

      • Re:Homesteading (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:53PM (#42341263)
        You are an idiot. Homesteading has existed for all of history. One guy with a sniper rifle can't take away someone else's land because everyone recognizes the rights of the homesteader, while very few recognize the rights of the thief. The thief/murderer will be killed for his crimes, whether by police in a state, or by aggrieved relatives in an anarchic state.

        You shouldn't talk about things you have no background in. Rights are no more artificial than society. They both exist, even if pigheaded fools like yourself claim they don't.
    • Re:Homesteading (Score:5, Informative)

      by Niris (1443675) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:31PM (#42339965)
      Read "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Heinlein. They had prisoners who mined on the moon, and when they rebelled against the government, they hurled down moon rocks. Good little story.
    • Re:Homesteading (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jythie (914043) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:45PM (#42340199)
      'natural rights' are meaningless. Rights only exist in so far as something strong enough can stop people from violating them. Take away that state force and it just comes down to people having the resources to stop others.. in other words, become states.

      'Homesteading' has nothing natural to it.. it was a piece of paper from the government saying that they would let you go settle in someone else's territory, and if those people got uppity you had the backing of the military.
    • by perrin (891)

      Natural rights is an interesting topic, indeed. However, if there is ever a right that is entirely artificial, then it is property. The labor mixing argument has largerly fallen out of serious consideration in philosophical circles these days, being subject to way too many intrinsic problems.

      Like, if I make a a glass of juice and pour it into the ocean, does that make the ocean mine, or did I just waste it?

      Once you start looking at the enormous variety of property claims that exist, then you realize that pr

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:31PM (#42339963)
    There are currently no governments with the ability to enforce their laws in space. Therefor if you can get to it in space and defend it from those who want to take it from you, it's yours. Of course, if you want to sell some of it back on earth, you will need to get governments to agree to let you sell it (unless of course you smuggle it in, but that is yet an additional expense).
    • by jythie (914043)
      In other words, form a government and get recognized by other governments.
    • by Khashishi (775369)

      That's incorrect. As long as the government has its headquarters on Earth, it is vulnerable to attack.

  • by Tomster (5075) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:33PM (#42339999) Homepage Journal

    Property rights in space will likely be determined by who gets there first, and who can muscle away the competition, either by military or political means.

    Personally, I'm terribly excited about the upcoming prospects for things like asteroid mining and permanent settled colonies on the Moon and Mars (as a couple good early candidates). It looks like we are on the cusp of an explosion in private commercial space flight, exploration, and development. And with China getting into the game, we may have another space race.

  • Trickle Down Theory? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:33PM (#42340005) Homepage

    There are asteroid-mining proposals backed by Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, various moon-mining proposals, and, announced just this month, a proposed moon-tourism venture.

    Just shows that Reaganomics got it part right -- if you keep giving more and more money to a smaller and smaller sliver of society, they will find things to spend it on. Unfortunately, not cost efficient things that trickle down to smaller businesses, entrepreneurs, and working people. They spend it on ever more gigantic toys. "Oooh, Larry, let's build a billion dollar spaceship!" Great. Too bad we don't have a thousand small businesses spending that money on labor, rent, stock, and taxes instead.

    • by dywolf (2673597)

      Someone has to build the space ship. Is the rich guy gonna do that?
      Someone has to design it. Is the rich guy gonna do that?
      Someone has to fly it. Is the rich guy gonna do that?
      Someone has to maintain it. Is the rich guy gonna do that?
      Someone has to launch it. Is the rich guy gonna do that?

      I guess all those guys work for free though, right?

      • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:23PM (#42340853) Homepage

        Velocity of money [wikipedia.org] does not change significantly based on who is spending it. Every transaction has subsequent transactions that support the economy, and they cancel out. The question is the efficiency of the transaction under consideration. Does that spaceship, a giant chunk of capital, a great heaping pile of allocated GDP, produce wealth as quickly as a thousand small businesses? (please be rigorous in your consideration of the definition of "produce wealth")

      • Most of the time people work because they need money to pay for the requirements of basic survival, things like food, rent and hopefully afford a few extra western luxuries.

        Rich guy comes along, he is no longer motivated by the requirements of ensuring basic survival, and could become a professional layabout if he so wished (the idle rich don't get as much publicity). But instead he says, I have a bat shit crazy idea, lets build a moon rocket. Not only that, I'll flow enough money towards the project that f

    • by dpidcoe (2606549)

      They spend it on ever more gigantic toys. "Oooh, Larry, let's build a billion dollar spaceship!" Great. Too bad we don't have a thousand small businesses spending that money on labor, rent, stock, and taxes instead.

      Unless they can wave a magic wand and have the spaceship assemble itself out of the dollar bills that they keep in their swimming pool, it would be pretty hard to keep the money from spreading out everywhere. I'm pretty sure that the billions they spend on the rocket go to all sorts of useful things such as workers to build the rocket, the space to build it in, the engineering firms to design it, the small companies that make crazy one-off things that really only have use in a rocket (don't underestimate h

      • by Bob9113 (14996)

        Velocity of money [wikipedia.org] does not change significantly based on who is spending it. Every transaction has subsequent transactions that support the economy, and they cancel out. The question is the efficiency of the transaction under consideration. Does that spaceship, a giant chunk of capital, a great heaping pile of allocated GDP, produce wealth as quickly as a thousand small businesses? (please be rigorous in your consideration of the definition of "produce wealth")

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dpidcoe (2606549)

          The question is the efficiency of the transaction under consideration. Does that spaceship, a giant chunk of capital, a great heaping pile of allocated GDP, produce wealth as quickly as a thousand small businesses? (please be rigorous in your consideration of the definition of "produce wealth")

          Firstly, good on you for clarifying that (seriously, more discussions need to be that way).

          Secondly, the efficiency of the transaction is going to be an extremely complex analysis, especially as you'll have analyze the 1000 small businesses that it's to be compared against (what kind of businesses? how saturated is their market? how interested are the business owners in their business?)

          Speaking from my experience working R&D in a company that builds things that no one else has ever built before, I know

    • by dywolf (2673597)

      You make it sound like the Reagan years and policies were bad.

      The economy grew, faster and bigger than it did before and after his term
      The poverty level and the population in it shrunk.
      The avg family income grew.

      "Interest rates, inflation, and unemployment fell faster under Reagan than they did immediately before or after his presidency. The only economic variable that was worse in the Reagan period than in both the pre- and post-Reagan years was the savings rate, which fell rapidly in the 1980s."

      Basically

      • by Bob9113 (14996)

        The economy grew, faster and bigger than it did before and after his term
        The poverty level and the population in it shrunk.
        The avg family income grew.

        Same is true of Clinton, but he did it while running a surplus instead of a massive deficit. Oh -- except the part about poverty -- Clinton didn't just shrink it, he set records for shrinking it.

        Now, giving Clinton credit for the tech boom isn't fair, but failing to account for Reagan's reckless stimulus spending is equally inappropriate.

        Basically nothing you

    • by asylumx (881307)
      I know it's been said a dozen times in response to you, but you described exactly what is necessary for trickle-down to work. If the rich guys are spending money, then that money is circulating and doing our economy good. If the rich guys are sitting on a pile of cash in the bank and not spending it (or investing, or anything else to keep it moving) then that is when it actually hurts the economy. Having them spend metric buttloads of cash on crazy inventions is not only good for the economy and the lowe
      • by DM9290 (797337)

        I know it's been said a dozen times in response to you, but you described exactly what is necessary for trickle-down to work. If the rich guys are spending money, then that money is circulating and doing our economy good. If the rich guys are sitting on a pile of cash in the bank and not spending it (or investing, or anything else to keep it moving) then that is when it actually hurts the economy. Having them spend metric buttloads of cash on crazy inventions is not only good for the economy and the lower-class folks in it, but it's also good for society because, heaven forbid, they might actually discover something useful -- even if it's not quite what they were trying to do.

        If the government is spending money, then that money is circulating and doing our economy good. If the government is sitting on a pile of cash in the bank and not spending it (or investing, or anything else to keep it moving) then that is when it actually hurts the economy. Having it spend metric buttloads of cash on crazy inventions is not only good for the economy and the lower-class folks in it, but it's also good for society because, heaven forbid, the government might actually discover something useful

    • Yea, we should definitely take that money away from people who want to build spaceships and further the entire human existence, and give it to small business owners selling beanie babies on eBay, new fad get skinny quick schemes, and plastic disposable toys retailers. /me slaps you with a fish

  • Awesome ... (Score:4, Funny)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:33PM (#42340019) Homepage

    Bring on the space pirates.

    But, more seriously, I think the problem was when that treaty was signed, it took the resources of a nation-state to get someone into space. And now increasingly, it's private corporations doing this.

    At some point, someone will actually land something on an asteroid or something and say "we own this now", so at some point, this really is going to be needed.

    This life-ending Asteroid has been brought to you by Coca Cola.

  • Just curious. Why mess with a body the so affects our world?

    Also, if you mine an asteroid are you then changing it's trajectory and potentially putting it into earth's path?

    I'm more apt to be OK to mining other bodies in space, but the Moon, I'd want to see some serious studies done on the affect of mining on the moon effects on the earth.

    • You overestimate what we humans can achieve in comparison of the sheer scale of cosmic objects.

      If an asteroid is big enough to be a threat to Earth, it's too massive to move. And the moon is 400000km from the Earth. Taking dirt from the inside and throwing it on the surface will not change its gravitational pull one iota.

    • by Tomster (5075)

      ...why mess with a body that so affects our world? Umm, look around -- we've been messing with our own planet pretty seriously for a century or so now. Anything we do to the Moon will have minor-to-none effects on the Earth for long enough that by the time there is any noticeable impact to the Earth it won't be a problem for us.

      As for accidentally putting an asteroid into the Earth, we understand calculation of trajectories well enough to prevent that sort of thing.

  • Who will enforce it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by davidwr (791652) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:43PM (#42340151) Homepage Journal

    A property right without a sovereign to back it up with arms if necessary leaves me at the mercy of anyone bigger than me who wants to take my claim away.

    A property right with a sovereign to enforce it with arms if necessary may put that sovereign in violation of treaties it has already agreed to.

    Even if it doesn't, such a sovereign would have to be willing to stand up against the combined military might countries who are willing to go to war to defend the "right of all mankind" to "own" the asteroid or whatever piece of property is at issue.

    In other words, any country which says it will back a claim to "space real estate" is betting that the rest of the world won't care or at worst, will just whine about it but take no real action. Any person or company making such a claim is betting the same AND betting no other person or company will attempt to fight the claim by force.

    • Nobody CAN enforce it, which makes the whole discussion academic at best. Until we have technology sufficient to create a property conflict in space, it's all just talk. The ultimate issue will be decided the same way colonial boundaries were decided in centuries past: you get as much land as you can win a war on.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:52PM (#42340329)

    I don't think ownership of celestial bodies is necessary to conduct business on them. We shouldn't write laws concerning the future, because we simply have no idea what space enterpreneurship will be like. Once we have reached a level where getting profit from outer space becomes possible, we can create our laws while having much more information available. TFA's claims that private space projects are limited by legal problems is bullshit, ambitious space activities are limited by financial and technological problems, not legal ones.

  • You can own an non-terrrestial property if
    a) you occupy it for a significant length of time
    or
    b) you control its location

    Failure of a) or b) for beyond a determined length of time shall result in loss of title.

  • http://www.mahalo.com/how-to-buy-land-on-the-moon/
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:56PM (#42340415)

    existing treaties, like the Outer Space Treaty, seem to prohibit private ownership of space resources

    No problem. When you get to your asteroid or whatever, you just declare yourself an independent space faring nation. You certainly have far more claim to that title than those who didn't get there. And you'll want to do that anyway, otherwise all of your profits will be taxed by the earthworms who think they are entitled to most of your profits and to tell you how to do things, even though they took mo risk and provided no service to you.

    • That's why Page wants to mine asteroids. So Google no longer has to pay earth taxes. Well played, sir, well played.

  • If property rights are granted, does this mean we have no space left for .... whatever?
    Or is this a property rights troll on everything?
    Or maybe ... Oh, its a god thing....

    At any rate can someone enforce their property right to the space between the ears of some politicians and who ever else....

  • Property is something that can only exist within a given jurisdiction.
    Until a government claims jurisdiction over space, any one can go to space, establish a settlement and claim sovereignty and ownership.

    Any attempt by a government to claim you're on their land would then be an act of war.

    • That would certainly be fun: " We down here in this deep gravity well declare war on you people up there among all of those rocks! "
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      But that's very unlikely in the foreseeable future. What will happen is that private entities will make visits or send machinery to the spot. So if somebody else has rights to that place, they can prosecute on Earth.

  • Y'all seem to have forgotten your history.

    A long time ago people ventured out to discover new land with the intention of CLAIMING said land.

    Once claimed (for the country, usually) the land could be developed under the laws of said country.

    While I understand and agree with the proposition that it'd be unfair (or at least, unreasonable) for any country to claim an entire planet (at least, any planet in this system) but Asteroids and Various Other Miscellaneous Bodies should quite literally be UP FOR GRABS.
  • Our history of full of empires, merchants, new lands...

    It basically boils down to what nation/institution is powerful enough to control the space property and whatever rules they impose on it.

    It could be one powerful country that takes space exploration on its own. We could a bit more cordial and share the costs of exploration via some kind of international agency and then auction of any property rights.

    We could even parallel something like the Antarctic Treaty which basically ban military activity on the c

  • by alienzed (732782) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:36PM (#42341049) Homepage
    how about we solve the lunacy of the concept here first...
  • I think this is pretty much going to be a first come first serve kind of thing. I don't think anybody on earth should have the ability to declare property rights on something in space, unless they can walk right up to it and stick a flag in it (and, of course, the means to protect the flag). You can sit on earth and pay to have a bunch of lawyers claim rights on some space rock, but if someone else lands their spaceship on it you just look like a moron.

  • But I bought an a few acres in the Sea of Tranquility.. SON OF A...

    http://www.lunarregistry.com/land/index.shtml [lunarregistry.com]
  • Everyone is gonna want one, but someone will have the biggest and will own space.

It's later than you think, the joint Russian-American space mission has already begun.

Working...