Property Rights on the Moon and other Celestial Bodies

Author: Aman Verma, Bharati Vidyapeeth University


In present time, the observations of researchers have said that the people are anxious towards the extension of property in outer space and concerned about the full usage of lands beyond the earth. To rule the activities in outer space, the United nations committee on the peaceful uses of the outer space (UNCOPUOS) has implement so many treaties such as Outer Space treaty, The Moon treaty, The Rescue treaty, etc., Where everyone has the same rights to access the resources and allows them to make claims of ownership of the property in space. In this article, we will discuss about the deals for the tangible property and not for the intellectual property.


The Topic of extraterritorial real estate on celestial objects was first presented in 1890. Article I of the Outer Space Treaty provides the so-called “space benefits” clause according to which the exploration and use of outer space should be carried out “for the benefit and interests of all countries[1]. It was stated that the Outer space should be free for discovery and use by all states without any such discrimination of any kind. There should be fair treatment of equality of law and in accordance with the international law and there should be free access for all the people to all areas of celestial bodies.

Article II of the Outer space provides for so-called “non-appropriation of space”, according to which outer space is “not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means[2]”. With the agreement of the non-appropriation of outer space, Article VIII states that the jurisdiction and control over space objects as well as personnel launched lies in the hands of the State of registration.

Why is it important to study Property Rights in Outer Space?

As we all know that the most favorable desire of humans is to acquire more property. Property in the sense money, means power, means wants to rule the world. With the power of thinking, we humans are excited to acquire territories and lands. The passion of exploration and desire to acquire property is in our blood. We always try to use all available resources on earth. This topic is a crucial part of space law. Day-to-day humans are reaching new heights in outer space. There are two of the most important treaties in connection with property rights in space, named as, Outer space treaty and moon treaty. The Outer Space treaty is basically providing the basic framework on international space law. The Moon treaty, on the other hand intelligibly bans any kind of privatization of moon and other celestial bodies as an individual body under article 11. Even though outer space can’t be appropriated by nations.

Property Rights claim in Outer Space

Where the credits are not expressly authorized, there is no mention for the private ownership of celestial bodies. Unsureness over private property rights has to give rise by people for many land claims.  As not less than 6 million people have already acquired land from Lunar embassy, including NASA employees, some celebrities and even former American presidents like Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. In spite of attracting a lot of attention of people, the company has several issues with its territorial claims. One of the major problems was lack of permanent settlement on moon. Lunar Embassy has a lot of buyers who would constitute its citizen but there is no way to live together on the other planet so that’s why the settlement is not permanent.

If we talk about buying properties on earth, there are some formalities which has to be followed by one who buys a piece of land. It starts with registering oneself in Civil law or Common law. According to Civil law, a person has to choose a land which must not be claimed earlier, then he has to occupy it and later use it for some productive work. Once he does these formalities, the government will recognize his rights over that particular land.


As we all know that, there is no recognition of sovereignty in outer space, the Civil law must be applicable on space lands. In present condition, a person can only use this property for reselling purpose because the technology to visit outer space is only available to astronauts, and having no source of living (like oxygen and water), any individual cannot go to moon and start living there. The actual fact is, no one who has some land on moon, is living on the claimed territories so that the moon can’t be said to be owned by Lunar Embassy. From my point of view, it is not possible to live right now in outer space where a person has occupied some land but with the rapid increase in technology, this goal is NOT IMPOSSIBLE.


[1] Pt. 31, pg. 7, Issue paper prepared by the International Bureau of WIPO.

[2] Pt 31, pg. 7, Issue paper prepared by the International Bureau of WIPO.


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