Extraterrestrial Real Estate

Extraterrestrial real estate is land on other planets or natural satellites or parts of space that is sold either through organizations or by individuals.


Legal Issues:

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 states from claiming territorial sovereignty. 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 has currently been ratified by 102 countries, including all the major space-faring nations. It has also been signed by 26 other nations but not yet ratified.

The international Moon Treaty, finalized in 1979 and entering into force in 1984, forbids private ownership of extraterrestrial real estate. However, as of January 1, 2013 only 15 states have ratified the agreement, and none of these are major space-faring nations. Kazakhstan has ratified the treaty and is host to the Baikonur Cosmodrome. However, the facility is operated through a leasing agreement by Russia. India, with space missions of its own, has also signed the treaty.

Whether these two treaties are the last word on the subject is disputed. The Outer Space Treaty permits states to withdraw from its terms with one year’s notification, and the Moon Treaty was never ratified by Russia, one of the small number of space-faring states currently capable of sending unmanned spacecraft to the Moon.