Priced out of the most expensive real estate market on earth? Get an acre of lunar property for US$24.99

By Cheryl Arcibal / SCMP | July 23, 2019 2:45 PM SGT
Several websites in the United States are selling title deeds that purportedly grant the buyer ownership to frontier land on the moon.
For US$24.99 , Lunar Embassy in California sells a piece of parchment that proclaims the customer the owner of an acre (43,560 square feet) of lunar real estate. On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11's moon landing, the website is selling plots 10 miles from the landing site.
Lunar Embassy claims to have "sold" nearly 1 billion acres of lunar property, about 10 per cent of the moon's estimated surface area, for at least US$11 million since 1980. Business had been so good that the website's portfolio expanded to Mars, Venus, Mercury and the whole of Pluto " 4.67 billion miles from earth " for US$250,000.
"Buying property on the moon from a private company can only be a romantic transaction, or fun, and has absolutely no legal basis," said Kai-Uwe Schrogl, chief strategy officer of the European Space Agency, in an emailed comment. "The legal situation is based on Article 2 of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, ratified by far more than 100 states, which reads: "Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use of occupation, or by any other means"."
American astronaut Buzz Aldrin beside the US flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969. Photo: Nasa via AP alt=American astronaut Buzz Aldrin beside the US flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969. Photo: Nasa via AP
Therein lies a loophole, said Lunar Embassy's founder Dennis Hope, as individuals can claim lunar real estate where nations dare not tread. Hope, who also declared himself president of a non-existent "galactic government" established in 2004 by the fictitious "Declaration of Galactic Independence," said he was inspired by the US Homestead Act of 1862, which allowed applicants to acquire ownership of government land.
"We are the distribution vehicle, the mechanism by which all of humanity can acquire their equity share on these [celestial] bodies," said Lunar Embassy's chief executive officer Christopher Lamar. "Every person should have at least one acre equity, and therefore a voice, before governments and the mega-conglomerates attempt land grabs, excluding humanity from the individual personal property rights that were left intended through...