In 1980 Hope realised that while the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty said no country could own the moon, it said nothing about individuals.
So he wrote a letter to the United Nations claiming ownership of the moon and asking for a legal reason why an individual couldn’t claim ownership. He hasn’t heard back.
Ever since Hope, 65, has sold lunar land certificates at around $24-per-acre, including sales to former U.S. presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.
The Gardnerville, Nev., resident once sold a “country-sized” plot of land — 2.66 million acres — for $250,000, according to U.S. News and World report. He says that in 2011 a group offered him $50 million for the moon’s north pole, but he declined the offer.
Frans von der Dunk, professor of Space Law at the University of Nebraska, told The New York Times that Hope’s ownership is “either a hollow claim or a fraud.”
But Hope is serious: when China announced it would attempt to build a moon base, Hope wrote them a letter saying that their craft would not reach the moon if they didn’t have a licensing agreement with him.
“We have no problem with exploration, but as for anyone building anything of permanence, they don’t own the land,” Hope told U.S. News and World Report. “That would be like Canada coming down to the United States and building a facility without asking permission.
Hope, the president of the Galactic Government, has also claimed Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter’s moon Io, and Pluto (the rock is yours for $250,000).
Here’s an op-doc about Hope by Simon Ennis of The New York Times:
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