Updated: Dec 14, 2019
The Story of Dennis Hope: The Man Who Owns The Moon
With Christmas right around the corner, I thought, "Well, that could be a cute gift for my son. I'll name a star after him." Then I thought "Well, how legitimate is naming a star after someone? Would it really be recognized by other earthlings as Star Lincoln? Or is some fly-by-night company selling me stardust?" I found out pretty quickly with a simple Google search that there would be no legitimate "Star Lincoln." Sure, they would send me a nice certificate stating there was, and then I'd invest in a telescope, and we'd never be able to find the damn thing. Not to mention, that same spec in the sky has probably been bought and sold by people with names like.. Dennis. I couldn't do that to my son. I just couldn't.
Then other related topic searches popped up, such as, "Can you buy land on the moon? On Mars? Can you own land on any planet for that matter?" At first glance, the answer looked liked you very much could. This prompted another Google search, "Who owns the moon?" Answer: Dennis Hope.
Quickly, let's step back in history to 1967. At this time, The United Nations Outer Space Treaty is signed, and it basically states no NATION can own outer space. This includes the moon, and any other celestial bodies. It states that every nation has the right to space exploration: i.e., that space is for everyone. Everyone like you and me? So we own the moon then, right?
Fast forward to 1980, a man named Dennis Hope is going through a divorce and he's flat broke. He had been kicking around the idea of getting into real estate, but he lacked two things: capital, and most importantly, land.
One night he was looking up at the night sky, and he noticed the moon in a way he hadn't before. I imagine he thought to himself, "Well there is a ton of land, I wonder who owns it?" He decided to do some research and find out the answer to his question.
As he read, and reread, the 1967 Space Treaty, Article II of the treaty states: "No Nation can own space." However, it states nothing about individuals owning space. He then decided he would simply write the United Nations and say, "Hey, I own the moon now, and I plan on selling it to anyone that wants to buy some. If you have a problem with this, let me know," and guess what? The UN never wrote him back... so they technically never said, "No, Dennis. You're out of your mind, you can't do that." So, he did.
Dennis has now been selling plots of land on the Moon for twenty bucks an acre on average. He has sold 611 million acres as of today. This number only accounts for land sold on the moon. He has sold 325 million acres on Mars, and a combined 125 million acres on Venus, Io, and Mercury.
The next time you have an idea that is out of this world, maybe it is time to take a second look.
That's what Dennis Hope did. The man who owns the moon, because he said:
"I own the moon."