Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Privatising the Moon

As a child of the space age, it is hard not to be disappointed in the fact that we do not have human beings in permanent Moon bases, and should have landed humans on Mars some time ago.

On the other hand it is also easy to notice that space has been very largely the realm of state enterprises, whether that is American NASA, the Russian Cosmodrome, ESA of the Europeans or indeed the Chinese government.

But, of course, various treaties have dictated that no part of space, including the Moon, may be owned in any way except, as the Outer Space treaty has it, in common benefit for all mankind- and if "all" own something it is the same as if no one owns it.

Well, it is true that Columbus' expedition was a state enterprise, yet what brought the Conquistadors back to the Americas was the prospect of limitless wealth- albeit that this was wealth plundered from the native population.

There is wealth on the Moon, but there is no population, yet still, "private ownership" of the Moon is banned.

If we want to see people back on the Moon in our lifetime, it might be a very good idea to abolish the outer space treaty: to those that have the will and the courage to go to the Moon, then they should gain the benefits of their enterprise.

"We came in peace for all mankind and profit for those with the courage to come themselves": that is probably the only way we will go back to the Moon this century.


Anonymous said...

Disagree: it's protected for scientific purposes.

Anonymous said...

We have enough moon rock now, thanks. Let's open it up :)