Oct 22 2014

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All I want to do is slap some hippies

This one, in particular. In her op-ed at Space.com titled “Who owns the Moon?”, Saskia Vermeylen of Lancaster University parades all the tropes that statists and environmentals (ed. note: Wait, aren’t they the same thing?) bring out.

Here are some doozies from her screed direct to your eyeballs:

We need to be clear about the legal validity of extraterrestrial real estateas the same ideas that were once used to justify colonialism are being deployed by governments and galactic entrepreneurs. Without proper regulation, the moon risks becoming an extra-planetary Wild West.

Like that’s a bad thing? (I recommend Ms. Vermeylen try a Google search on the actual “Wild West”, which wasn’t very wild at all. )


The difficulty of physically establishing an act of possession on the moon should protect it from private development, but it seems technology is once again outsmarting the law. Back in the late 1990s commercial firm SpaceDev intended to land robotic prospectors on an asteroid to conduct experiments and claim it as private property. The project eventually ran out of funds and was shelved, but advocates of such “telepossession” point to cases of salvage companies claiming undersea wrecks as property after exploring them with robots. After all, if an undersea probe with a TV camera was all that was required to take possession of a (previously owned, earthly) shipwreck, why shouldn’t a space probe be enough to take possession of an unowned and unclaimed patch of celestial real estate?

DARN TECHNOLOGY!! But to answer her question — it shouldn’t.


Though legal ownership of the moon or Mars is prohibited, the appropriation of material is a whole different matter. It looks like entrepreneurs could claim something like “enterprise rights” that allows them to explore and exploit natural resources in outer space.
I get the uncomfortable feeling of a déjà vu. Was it not Locke’s property theory that justified possession over nature and vacant land and eventually led to the colonisation of the Americas?>

Again, like that’s a bad thing? I think, all things considered, the colonization of the Americas has VASTLY benefited mankind in too many ways to count.


Let’s hope that the international community and individual states come to their senses before it’s too late and get to sign and ratify the Moon Agreement which might give us a little bit of hope that we can avoid another enclosure movement.

Instead, let’s hope that private industry starts establishing colonies on the Moon and stake claims to property ownership.


Oh, and here is Saskia’s bio:

Money quote:

With a background in the humanities (law, international relations and history) Saskia’s main research interest focuses upon property theory from a critical socio-legal and philosophical perspective. For her PhD research she did extensive fieldwork in Southern Africa and has ever since developed a great love and interest for African cultures and history which she incorporates in her work by injecting a post-colonial theoretical lens in her work on land rights in Southern Africa and intellectual property rights over African cultures and traditional knowledges.


And because I know you agree with me and ’cause I like you:

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/10/22/all-i-want-to-do-is-slap-some-hippies/

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