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While We're Fixing the UN...

A little tidbit caught my attention in this article from the Guardian about property rights on the moon (via GeekPress):

Behind the (fake) lunar title deeds for sale over the internet, there is a serious issue. The wonderfully named United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, which governs, well, outer space, is clear. Its 1967 Outer Space Treaty says no nation can claim ownership of any celestial body (including the moon) and that all nations must agree to their peaceful use. The UN says that private expeditions count as national activities and are covered by the treaty, which has been signed by all the major players. Lawyers disagreed and a second agreement - the 1979 International Moon Treaty - was drawn up to explicitly ban private ownership of lunar real estate. It received much less support and, to date, only France, India and the less than dominant space nations Guatemala, Peru and Romania have bothered to sign.

Gee, why does it upset the UN so much that they can't control the US when they apparently get to call the shots for the entire universe? Our potential insectoid galactic overlords are going to have a real chuckle over that one. Wasn't there a Pope in the middle ages who divided the world up into quarters (or thirds) and assigned each piece to some western crown? It's somehow comforting to know that, for all the progress humanity has made, we're still capable of the same kind of fatuous nonsense.

All of this talk about who owns what in space will only be settled when there are people truly living there and when commerce is established. The article goes on to suggest that the UN is King George to the would-be-settlers' American colonists. Let's hope it doesn't come down to that. But if it does, I think I know which side I'm on.

Anyhow, while we're giving the UN some good goals to work on accomplishing, maybe we should also help ween the institution from some of its more outrageous delusions.

Comments

I believe the new world was divided between Spain & Portugal by a Pope in the 1500s.

Those already in space would have a great advantage over those seeking to enforce arcane treaties not signed by their as-yet-unformed space-based nation state. What would the UN do? Talk the settlers to death?!

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