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Moon Space

Hotel Tycoon Seeks Property Rights On the Moon 248

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-rights-onluna dept.
SonicSpike writes "The founder of Bigelow Aerospace, Robert Bigelow, made a fortune in the hotel and real estate businesses, and he's pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into an enterprise that will create inflatable habitats designed for life beyond Earth. He entered into an agreement with NASA to provide a report on how ventures like his could help NASA get back to the moon, and even Mars, faster and cheaper. Bigelow is applying to the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation to amend a 1967 international agreement on the moon so that a system of private property rights can be established there. 'When there isn't law and order,' he said, 'there's chaos.' Bigelow said he believes the right to own what one discovers on the moon is the incentive needed for private enterprise to commit massive amounts of capital and risk lives. 'It provides a foundational security to investors,' he said. Bigelow does not feel that any one nation should own the moon. 'No one anything should own the moon,' he said. 'But, yes, multiple entities, groups, individuals, yes, they should have the opportunity to own the moon.'"
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Hotel Tycoon Seeks Property Rights On the Moon

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  • by ModernGeek (601932) on Friday November 15, 2013 @12:24PM (#45434647) Homepage
    If you can't defend something, you can't own something.
    • Well, he obviously can't. That's why he is asking the US government to do it for him.

      • by jythie (914043)
        Which I am guessing it can not since for the US government to recognize his property on the moon, the US would first have to claim the moon as its territory, which other nations would probably not be happy about. So the US would have to take a significant diplomatic risk which, if the profit for a local company is great enough it likely would, but I do not see a business plan here that would even begin to justify it.
    • by LifesABeach (234436) on Friday November 15, 2013 @12:36PM (#45434815)
      I am reminded of a book, "The Man Who Sold the Moon." Compared to todays culture, it is a very telling story. Also, trained seals is a very telling concept.
      • by joebok (457904) on Friday November 15, 2013 @01:50PM (#45435761) Homepage Journal

        Yes, by Robert Heinlein. My first thought was a scene from that, or maybe it was another story, I don't remember - but the character D.D. Harriman walks into a Pepsi exec's office with a Coke logo pinned to his suit (I'm sure the companies weren't mentioned by name, but that was the idea). The exec is pissed about it, Harriman says from the distance from me to you, this button is the exact size of the full moon. I just came from there - they've got a great plan to write their logo across the face of the moon. The exec - that's outrageous! Harriman - yes, a travesty - we've got to stop it, but I just need some more money to get this ship launched - if I get there first, then it won't happen. And, of course, Harriman does the same thing the other way around, extorting every dime he can.

        Anyway, it's a fun story - very interesting to see real life creep up on it!

    • by lgw (121541)

      If you can defend it .. it's yours

      Not if your main properties are back here on Earth. Really, until some distant future of entirely off-Earth sustainability, you need to make nice with at least some Earth government.

      Once you can push CHON asteroids around, that's a different story, since then you have both sustainability and military supremacy over Earth.

      • by Hartree (191324)

        "you need to make nice with at least some Earth government."

        I think that counts as not being able to defend it, and ceding the rights for the promise of security.

        • by lgw (121541)

          My point is: it's not about physical defense of your property on the moon, you can do that and still have it effectively taken from you because you need the Earth. That's different from the colonies that led to America, or the frontier thereafter.

          • by Hartree (191324)

            I mostly agree with you, but the example of the colonies in the Americas isn't a good one.

            The initial settlers absolutely needed Spain, Britain or other established powers. The continent had challenges that were far more tenacious than those on the moon. Specifically, the weakened, but still much stronger than a few colonist, existing civilizations.

            The Native Americans didn't always appreciate the Europeans moving into their territory and it often had to be accomplished via force of arms, wealth and people

    • by VernonNemitz (581327) on Friday November 15, 2013 @12:55PM (#45435079) Journal
      The normal variation on that theme has to do with Governments (usually local) doing the defending for you, per the police forces. Meanwhile, Government also arbitrates between claims -- if two dudes claim the same piece of landscape for development purposes, who gets it? So, even if the Moon Treaty needs to continue keeping any one Nation from claiming ownership of the Moon or other bodies, it needs to have added to it some sort of system for arbitrating between ownership-claims made by others. And, possibly, defending its decisions. Else there will indeed be all the chaos that can result from "might makes right".
      • The normal variation on that theme has to do with Governments (usually local) doing the defending for you, per the police forces. Meanwhile, Government also arbitrates between claims -- if two dudes claim the same piece of landscape for development purposes, who gets it? So, even if the Moon Treaty needs to continue keeping any one Nation from claiming ownership of the Moon or other bodies, it needs to have added to it some sort of system for arbitrating between ownership-claims made by others. And, possibly, defending its decisions. Else there will indeed be all the chaos that can result from "might makes right".

        Agreed. The first thought that came to me was how do you have law and order without a nation? Are you going to have different laws on the moon for each entity's home nation? Do you treat it like the high seas and use maritime law? Whose law and order do you impose in order to secure property rights if no nation has claim to the property to begin with. I think Mr. Bigelow is a greedy bastard trying to fool people into giving him property rights that are indefensible. So, what--private security? Yeah, then we

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Friday November 15, 2013 @12:57PM (#45435107)

      I own the sun. Go ahead, just try landing there, my defenses will obliterate you!

      • You are sending harmful radiation into my yard, causing me skin cancer. Please cease and desist.
    • If you can't defend something, you can't own something.

      Because we are still a barbaric world where basic human courtesy doesn't apply. What a sad, sick statement.

      • That doesn't make it any less true.
      • And that is why I support the right to bear arms. As long as there's a discussion about the right to be had... that right should remain because we still need it.
      • Because we are still a barbaric world where basic human courtesy doesn't apply.

        Such as turning off your phone when in a meeting, dinner date or at the movies, not trying to get one car ahead by jamming your vehicle into the six foot space, not walking across the middle of the street and expecting traffic to stop on a dime, not using a curse word every three seconds because you think it's cool or being edgy, answering a question with "Read the fucking manual!"
    • ...EVE Online.

  • Can't say I'm in favor of developing the moon, but when I sit back and think about it, it seems inevitable. Doesn't mean I have to like it, though.

  • Good Grief (Score:4, Informative)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 15, 2013 @12:29PM (#45434719) Journal

    It's rather irrelevant what you think, Mr. Bigelow. There are currently international treaties banning any nation (and by extension any citizen of a nation) from claiming extraterrestrial territory. So bugger off and do something useful with your money.

    • Well, that is kind of his point. He is asking for the US to try to amend the treaty. Even if he gets the US to ask for an amendment it does not mean it will be granted. The way I read this, Bigwlow wants to open preliminary discussions.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by 0123456 (636235)

        The Outer Space Treaty is one of the worst pieces of communist garbage of the last hundred years, and another reason Apollo put space travel back decades.

      • by jfengel (409917)

        Which seems reasonable. The treaty is easy to follow when nobody's actually going there. It helped allay paranoia when the US was going there: we weren't going to set up a base anyway.

        Sooner or later, though, somebody's going to start going on some kind of regular basis. And it would be nice to have clearer guidelines than high-minded, utopian dictates that nobody owns anything.

        I'm skeptical that anything will come of it, since nobody's really in a mood to cooperate, and it's too abstract and far-off for it

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        He's making the rather large assumption that US law applies on the moon, or that US law can be enforced on the moon. You could argue that there's a few American flags there. You also could argue that the moon was claimed "for all mankind", and there's a plaque that says so. At the end of the day it's a ridiculous argument and I wonder what he is trying to shift attention towards or away from with his claim.
        • You might want to reread the article – he is not making that assumption. He knows that there is an international treaty that the US has signed. He knows the US government can’t act unilaterally, which is why he is asking for the US to renegotiate the treaty.

    • Given that historically anything that is owned by everybody (i.e. by nobody) tends to fall apart from abuse and neglect, if we are going to develop Moon (a long shot but whatever, the guy is thinking long term) the best model is one where many people OWN small parcels of it and are free to do with them as they please. Sort of like the way US was developed, not by a grand government plan but by dividing it up between individual with a stake in making it work.

      • That's probably a good way to do it. Have the countries that signed the previous treaty agree to something like a "land rush" on the moon. Divide it up into many lots big enough for any space station, and any private entity that gets there can claim one. Rules would have to be strict to prevent a ton of adjacent lots from getting Disney'd in corporate shell games though.

    • Re:Good Grief (Score:4, Interesting)

      by thomst (1640045) on Friday November 15, 2013 @01:26PM (#45435497) Homepage

      MightyMartian sneered:

      It's rather irrelevant what you think, Mr. Bigelow. There are currently international treaties banning any nation (and by extension any citizen of a nation) from claiming extraterrestrial territory. So bugger off and do something useful with your money.

      There ARE current international treaties banning ownership of an extraterrestrial body. They're foolish and outdated, and they need to be amended. Bigelow is attempting to persuade the US government to begin negotiating that process.

      I think Bigelow is a swine - but he's right about what it will take to give private capital the incentive to invest the blood and treasure necessary to colonize and exploit extraterrestrial resources. We're getting ever closer to the day when companies like SpaceX will be capable of creating conglomerates that possess the technology and financial resources to do exactly that - but they won't commit them until they see the possibility of getting sufficient return on their investment to make the risk worth taking.

      I'm all for government funding - NASA, the ESA, and so on - for space exploration efforts. But we can't COLONIZE the Moon without first modifying the existing Moon Treaty. Nor can we conduct commercial operations (such as ice mining) without amending it, because that 50-year-old treaty prohibits them.

      Anybody - including people you despise - can have a good idea. Ideas should be considered on their own merits, rather than being dismissed out of hand, simply because you dislike their source.

      • by jythie (914043)
        I suspect that even though the point that it feels far off has probably delayed reexamining the treaty, another big problem is it represents a rather significant can of worms that governments just do not want to deal with right now, not unless one of them has something significant to gain from it.
    • "So bugger off and do something useful with your money."

      So, he should shut up and just play Kerbal Space Program like the rest of us?

      If Elon Musk et al had that attitude, they wouldn't be about to launch the Falcon Heavy.

    • Those treaties are what he's requesting an amendment to, unless I missed something?

      It makes perfect sense that eventually we will want to colonize land on other planets, and those colonists should have the right to own and protect the land they settle and improve. The treaties were to prevent one nation from getting there first and just claiming the whole thing as their own sovereign soil, but there shouldn't be an issue now that transport to the moon is available (in theory at least) to anyone from any nat

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday November 15, 2013 @12:29PM (#45434727)

    We're whalers on the moon,
    We carry a harpoon.
    But there ain't no whales
    So we tell tall tales
    And sing our whaling tune.

  • by tibit (1762298) on Friday November 15, 2013 @12:31PM (#45434743)

    Just read The Apollo Experience Lessons Learned for Constellation Lunar Dust Management [nasa.gov]. Summary: Moon is a rather impractical place to be, unless: you have a way of washing everything on your way in and all of the exterior equipment is designed to be dust tight in vacuum environment (a nigh impossible feat). The dust will grind everything to a halt. It's that bad. And you better not got any into the shuttles subject to microgravity - both the people and the equipment will be in bad shape after a trip.

    • Hard to take the report seriously with glaring errors like this "Spetember 2006" "
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What's wrong with Spetember? It's the month after Augist and before Otcober.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        So, you agree with my conclusion, then - I mean, the only nitpick you have is a typo. Um, thanks?

      • by Convector (897502)

        That's actually not an error. It's a contraction of "Space September", the name of a time unit in the early attempts at a Space Calendar or "Spalendar" that wouldn't be tied to solar or lunar cycles as viewed on Earth. It never caught on, which is too bad, because "Spock-tober" would be awesome.

    • by Plazmid (1132467)

      Making something dust tight in a vacuum environment can't be all that hard. We have standards for preventing dust intrusion and they aren't all that different from standards for preventing water intrusion.

      And we do have a way to clean dust off equipment in a hard vacuum. Moon dust easily picks up an electrostatic charge, allowing one to use an alternating electric field to remove regolith from solar panels [electrostatics.org].

      The same technology, shouldn't be all that hard to integrate into space suits or other equipment.

      • Apples and oranges. (Score:5, Informative)

        by DerekLyons (302214) <(fairwater) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday November 15, 2013 @04:35PM (#45438155) Homepage

        The problem is that lunar dust isn't like earth dust. Earth dust consists largely of organic materials (which are relatively soft) and well worn non-organic materials (which are relatively rounded). Lunar dust is something entirely - it's all non-organic and it's very little worn, meaning it's abrasive as hell. This means that if there's any relative movement or wiping, it simply abrades ordinary dust seals away. (Very quickly in fact - the Apollo astronauts suits were badly damaged after only a few hours of exposure.) Keeping lunar dust out is like keeping sand out, which is a much harder task.

        • by Plazmid (1132467)

          Well, we have plenty of technologies for dealing with highly abrasive materials and operating in highly abrasive environments.

          Take for instance the concrete pump, it's a device that moves a slurry of fine(and many times not so fine) particles at high rates of speed with a decent MTBF.

          We have cars, trucks, and mining equipment that can operate with a decent MTBF in abrasive and sandy environments

          We have helicopters that have to deal with operation in sand environments, where blades and other fast moving comp

  • mmit massive amounts of capital and risk lives ..
    let him be the first to risk it and then i might have respect , but risking someone's else's neck is nothing short of cowardice.
    let him be his first passenger. then we talk .
    Property rights on the Moon is totally moronic. It does not belong to a person or country , it belongs to humanity and as such noone should be making claims on it.
    Use it , go visit , do what you want but never should the Moon be the property of an individual or organisations.

    • The guy is what – 67 years old. Another 10 years until the first flight. 77 seems old to be a astronaut. And this is going to be team effort. Or are you suggesting that JFK should have been the first man on the moon because he pitched and backed the idea?

      As for property - how would you handle somebody wanting to build a multibillion dollar research facility on the moon? Should the people who built it be able to run it or should it be the people with the biggest guns? If I wanted to build a Helim-3 mi

  • by Rorgg (673851)

    I'd like to visit The Moon on a rocket ship high in the air. Yes, I'd like to visit The Moon, but I don't think I'd like to live there.

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Friday November 15, 2013 @12:40PM (#45434871)
    Just open the windows.
  • Bigelow's move sounds like a bald attempt at a money/power grab, but hopefully it will help trigger some long-needed reflection on the concept of property rights. We just kind of accept how it works and get on with our lives, but there is a very strange bit of reasoning at the root of property ownership. If someone wants to "own" a bit of the moon, who should they pay, if anyone? Should it be enough that they get there first, AND can afford the weapons required to defend it from subsequent travelers? And wh
    • by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Friday November 15, 2013 @01:16PM (#45435373) Homepage
      Homesteading [wikipedia.org] is the principle by which one gains ownership of an unowned natural resources by performing an act of original appropriation. Appropriation could be enacted by putting an unowned resource to active use (as with using it to produce a product), joining it with previously acquired property or by marking it as owned (as with livestock branding).

      This is how the Earth's surface, originally not "owned" by anyone, turned into what it is today. If you accept that it worked here (as most people do), then there's no reason to suspect it won't work on the moon or anywhere else.
      • by ffflala (793437)
        That's a good theory, but I don't believe it accurately describes how things came to be as they currently are. Some examples include: the ongoing conflicting claims of ownership rights in the middle east (particularly the so-called "Holy Land"), and also the entirety of the continents of South, Central, and North America.

        Both are examples of massive tracts of land of which the original appropriators (whoever they were) have long since been displaced from "their" lands in the face of invading military force
        • by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Friday November 15, 2013 @01:38PM (#45435645) Homepage
          Annexation and appropriation as a result of military conflict is orthogonal to the issue of initial appropriation. That is, nobody has currently claimed the moon. That means we don't need to kill anyone before we pry it from their hands.

          Your counterexamples, the Americas, are no exception to the idea of homesteading. The indigenous peoples (or their ancestors) that once ran the show did at one point in time arrive in an unpopulated land. They, through homesteading, appropriated said land. Many centuries later, white man came and killed them.

          When the indigenous peoples' ancestors first pouring in across the land bridge where we find the Bering strait today, they didn't feel the need to reimburse everyone "back home" for the new land they were homesteading. When they settled on the American land, they had not "in effect taken that property from everyone else". They had taken that property from nobody else.

          Of course, with extraterrestrial land, people have this odd notion that the human race collectively owns the entire universe. Perhaps the result of some unfortunate treaties, this belief is one of the biggest obstacles to commercial development of space. Why should I have any stake of ownership in the moon? I've never been there, I've never done anything to warrant such ownership. Though it would be incredibly profitable to mine the moon for water, why would anyone bother if they couldn't legally sell any of the water they mined for lack of ownership rights?
          • by ffflala (793437)
            In terms of legitimacy, homesteading makes as much sense for the basis of a property claim as would "first post!" So someone got to the resource first. Regardless of whether they are capable of defending their claim or not, why *should* they be able to prevent everyone else who subsequently comes along from having the same access to the land and resources that they did when they first arrived? IOW, let me turn this question back on the underlying assumption:

            Why should I have any stake of ownership in the moon? I've never been there, I've never done anything to warrant such ownership.

            To understand my perspective, try apply this same

            • Well, sure, I suppose it is a very arbitrary approach to the problem of appropriation of unowned property. Really, it's no better than simply holding a lottery to award parcels of land to random people. The end result would be the same: unowned property becomes owned property.

              My point is that today we have a problem. There is no extraterrestrial real estate. It's not that there isn't stuff out there, it's that nobody owns it, and that nobody can own it. This prevents commercial development of space. Now,
          • That is, nobody can currently claim the moon.

            FTFY. We don't think we own the entire universe. Your hyperbole aside I would have to say that most of us have grown up from the Manifest Destiny thinking you are demonstrating. As far as land appropriation goes, I would call the early peoples of North America a migrating species more than on a land grab. Most all of those peoples lived in harmony with nature and most of their neighbors. Any boundaries or claims were simply there to keep peace, not to claim ownership. The whole concept of personal property

            • We don't think we own the entire universe. Your hyperbole aside I would have to say that most of us have grown up from the Manifest Destiny thinking you are demonstrating.

              I refer you to the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, more commonly known as the Outer Space Treaty [wikipedia.org]:
              The treaty explicitly forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet, claiming that they are the common heritage of mankind.

              So now that we've established that my hyperbole is really more like a quote of the relevant treaty, and that actually none of us have

      • by jythie (914043)
        Homesteading, however, presupposes a government willing and able to enforce it. All of those 'unowned natural resource' that were appropriated WERE in use by someone else already, their original appropriation was only from the perspective of various governments which were willing to back up their own citizens occupying land. In many ways 'homesteading' was really just 'wealth redistribution' combined with 'imminent domain'., one government taking land away from people in a weaker government and giving i
        • When the ancestors of indigenous Americans crossed over the land bridge to the Americas ages ago to appropriate the newly discovered lands through homesteading, what government was willing and able to enforce it? Who were these unowned natural resources in use by? Are you really honestly suggesting that all land was always owned by someone, since the dawn of time, and that never in the history of the human race was unowned land appropriated by humans?
          • by jythie (914043)
            True, if you go far back enough there was some point in history when there were no people on an area of land, but we are talking tens of thousands of years ago and, also rather importantly, those people were essentially small governments claiming land. Even then you generally had nomadic groups who settled rather asymmetrically and there were usually conflicts when one settled and another did not.

            That being said, homesteading can be shoehorned into ancient humans yes, but as a philosophy and legal framew
      • Homesteading [wikipedia.org] is the principle by which one gains ownership of an unowned natural resources by performing an act of original appropriation. Appropriation could be enacted by putting an unowned resource to active use (as with using it to produce a product), joining it with previously acquired property or by marking it as owned (as with livestock branding). This is how the Earth's surface, originally not "owned" by anyone, turned into what it is today. If you accept that it worked here (as most people do), then there's no reason to suspect it won't work on the moon or anywhere else.

        But--and this is a big but--someone or some nation had claim to the land before the homesteaders got there. Undeveloped land in the U.S territories prior to the states being there was still claimed by the United States and by the indigenous peoples before. Today, there truly is no unclaimed land in the world, and now they are starting to claim chunks of ocean floor. So, homesteading works on undeveloped land, sure, but you still have to get past any national claims or an army will remove you. In the case of

        • And when the indigenous people appropriated this land through homesteading, who had claim to the land before that? Are you honestly suggesting that all land has always been owned by someone since the dawn of time?

          But yes, homesteading only works with unowned land. That's why I brought it up in the context of appropriating the land on the moon. Because, as you point out, the moon belongs to no one (and there are no national claims or armies to worry about). If we want ownership rights on the moon (widely
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Friday November 15, 2013 @12:44PM (#45434919)
    The Moon is about 38 million sq. km. Divided amongst 7 billion people, that is just over 5,000 sq. m. each.

    With shades of The Man Who Sold the Moon, this guy can have my piece at the rate in the title. Just send me the cheque.

  • One of these days... One of these days...To the moon, Alice! -- Ralph
  • by bob_super (3391281) on Friday November 15, 2013 @12:56PM (#45435089)

    Hey look, there's something! I must figure out how to own or profit from it!

    (yes I know, everyone did that at some point, not just the US)

  • by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Friday November 15, 2013 @12:58PM (#45435121) Homepage

    Divide the moon up into N Billion equal pieces, and give each person on the planet an equal share. Then Bigelow can buy his land on the free market. Oh wait, that's not what he wants. He wants the moon carved up and given to the wealthiest people to make them even wealthier, backed by the world military to make sure that the poor get nothing out of it. Ah, capitalism. How you solve all the world's problems.

  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Capt James McCarthy (860294) on Friday November 15, 2013 @01:00PM (#45435143) Journal

    Who's getting the rights to Uranus?

  • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Friday November 15, 2013 @01:13PM (#45435325) Homepage

    Bigelow is applying to the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation to amend a 1967 international agreement on the moon so that a system of private property rights can be established there.

    Too early. And if ownership is to be given, let it be to nations in terms of sovereign rights (or leases), not private individuals. Then those nations can lease exploitation/leasing rights to individuals and corporations.

    The Moon is humanity's patrimony. Individuals and private entities must not have ownership right on the moon just in the same way we do with Antarctica. It is simply just too early. Here be dragons.

    I would much prefer private entities explore the concept of asteroid mining and space station building. Once that is done, and it is done for a while, maybe, just maybe we can talk about private property rights on the Moon.

    • I would argue against ever effing with the Moon. It kind of has some serious implications for Earth if things go horribly wrong down the road. Space stations, asteroids, or even Mars colonization don't bother me. The impact on the rest of us is negligible compared to something causing the Moon to crash into us, or it get destroyed by something stupid we did. Nope, LITFA!
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Friday November 15, 2013 @01:16PM (#45435379)

    The day terrestrial laws apply to extraterrestrial space is the day humanity curls up into a little ball and dies. Space is vast, and the ability of dissidents and frontiersmen to charge out into it and carve life from cold balls of rock gives hope to all those who despair of the cause of freedom here on Earth.

    And if I'm the intrepid guy who makes it to Mars and builds a sustainable colony there, the last g*damn thing I'm gonna worry about is filing paperwork with retard bureaucrats in Washington DC or the UN. They can all go hang. In fact, I would post a sign on the outskirts of my settlement: "Lawyers, politicians, and bureaucrats shot on sight."

  • Gimme a call. I'll sell you the whole moon, man.

  • He can't put it on the side facing the Earth. I don't mind him building a hotel there, but I don't want it in my view shed, or in the view shed of [insert favorite historic landmark here].

  • Is more focus on humanity and less on capitalism. What's wrong with spending $20B to benefit people who can't afford to spend $20? Especially when $20B isn't even a drop in the bucket to your collective wealth.

    We need the 1% to start acting more like the tiny speck of life that they belong to in comparison to the scale of the very large and perhaps unpopulated universe -- wIth interests to coincide with that. Living for your wealth and greed only goes so far in the large scheme of things.

  • Why bother? What resources are there? Helium3? Gravity? Is having gravity worth it? If he wants property rights, why not just build up a satellite hotel. There's nothing special about the moon. There's no magnetosphere to protect from radiation, correct? A floating satellite would get just as much solar power. If he wants to give people a chance to walk on the moon (that is something lots of people would pay for, so I guess the moon has THAT going for it), why not just ride down from the satellite?

    I won

    • [golf claps] Well said! That greedy bastard can go buy an asteroid and shove it up his ass. Leave the thing that regulates tides on Earth alone!
  • He is trying to get room to display giant billboards, isn't he? Perhaps using lasers at first?
  • by Tom (822) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:17PM (#45437003) Homepage Journal

    Look, the next sell-out is in the making.

    There's a reason for those international treaties, and they come from a time when mankind still had vision, not just credit lines.

    Private enterprise is a medicine with side-effects. It brings much good, but it comes with a price-tag. One of them is the loss of the commons, the sell-out of the public to the private.

    There used to be a lot of public goods. Spaces, streets, whole corporations owned by the people. Usually in the areas where we agreed that the benefit of everyone is more important than the profit of the few. The postal service, the Internet of our grandparents, is one of them. In private hands, it could have gone any way of many. Maybe similar, but maybe some analysts would have convinced the postal company/ies that higher prices would be more than offset by the lower amount of customers, resulting in higher margins and thus higher profits - and writing letters would have been reserved for the rich.

    As a society, we decided it's not worth taking the risk and we'd rather have the ability to communicate for everyone.

    So, which risk are we taking in giving private ownership of moons and planets to private enterprise, and why did our parents decide against it to the point of making a treaty about it in a time long before it was even near practical?

    Don't think proposals made by the super rich are for the general benefit of humanity. Nobody ever became super rich by being selfless.

  • by Tom (822) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:21PM (#45437055) Homepage Journal

    'When there isn't law and order,' he said, 'there's chaos.'

    Did someone just describe the financial crisis and how de-regulation caused it?

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

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