A new international law textbook contains an article on “Space Settlements, Property Rights, and International Law: Could a Lunar Settlement Claim the Lunar Real Estate it Needs to Survive?” by Alan Wasser and Douglas Jobes. Wasser, a former CEO of the National Space Society, argues in favor of “Land Claims Recognition” to help fund lunar settlements.
If and when the Moon and Mars are settled in the future through other incentives, the nations of Earth will eventually have to recognize these settlements’ authority over their own land. But to create an incentive now, governments would need to commit to recognizing that ownership in advance, rather than long after the fact.
Land claims recognition legislation would commit the Earth’s nations, in advance, to allowing a true private Lunar settlement to claim and sell (to people back on Earth) a reasonable amount of Lunar real estate in the area around the base, thus giving the founders of the Moon settlement a way to earn back the investment they made to establish the settlement.
The 42-page article was originally published in the Journal of Air Law and Commerce, Vol. 73, No. 1, 2008. The full article in PDF format is available on the NSS website as part of the NSS Lunar Bases and Settlement Library (“Additional Papers” section).