Planetary Scientist Wants UN to Ban Private Ownership of the Moon

Image: Planetary Scientist Wants UN to Ban Private Ownership of the Moon

Friday, 10 Jan 2014 07:05 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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The moon is not for sale.

A planetary scientist wants the United Nations to draw up a law that states the moon cannot be owned, according to the UK Telegraph.

The legal status of the moon is currently defined by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty of the United Nations in which it says all UN member states are "prohibited from appropriating the moon."

Ian Crawford, professor of planetary science at Birkbeck College in London, who proposed the idea, warned that as international space exploration increases and corporations aim to mine for minerals and commercial airways fly tourists to the earth's satellite, it would be lunar lunacy not to draw up a new UN treaty that includes private organizations.

He says there are some things money can't buy. "Nobody owns the moon," Crawford told BBC radio this week.

"There's a strong case for developing international law in this area because in 1967 it was not envisaged that anyone other than nation states would be able to explore the moon.

"Clearly that is changing now and there is a case for developing the outer treaty to include private organizations that wish to exploit the moon," the scientist said.

"If we are going to explore the moon that does not necessitate interfering with the lunar environment…."

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