Moon property investment growing according to leading lunar organisation

Property investors fed up with the world economic downturn and the credit crunch might just like to look elsewhere - to the moon.

It is legal under international law for individuals to own moon property and according to the authors of a report on the subject the establishment of lunar property rights is necessary to provide the financial resources for future settlement on the moon.

Dave Wasser and Douglas Jobes of the Space Settlement Institute, said individuals cannot own property on the moon but the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 does not forbid nations from recognizing land claims made by private organizations.

These already exist with Lunar International, the most well known. It sells parcels of moon land to the public to fund future lunar exploration and settlement initiatives.

'Nations could recognize land ownership claims made by private space settlements without being guilty of national appropriation or any other violation of the Treaty,' say Wasser and Jobes.

Lunar International donates a portion of each sale to the Society for Lunar Exploration and Development, an organization establishing a system that allows regular Earth-bound citizens to own moon property. Should the group succeed in its efforts, those who purchased land claims through Lunar International would enjoy full property rights to their slice of real estate on the moon.

Although some might regard it as a fad or fun gift those involved believe raising money in this way is the only realistic means through which mankind will explore and settle the moon.

'It is not reasonable to assume that governments will ever be able to overcome political pressures to consistently allocate the necessary funding to such projects,' said Jackson James, president of Lunar International.

Wasser and Jobes agree. They say systems such as the one developed by Lunar International could spark massive private investment that would lead to the establishment of permanent lunar settlements.

And there is no lack of interest. According to James purchases of land claims through Lunar International have nearly doubled over the past three months and are well ahead of the company's 2007 sales figures.

He describes those buying as not unlike the early settlers in the US. 'The people buying lunar land claims are today's pioneers,' said James. 'They dream about a better future for themselves and their children, and they understand the importance of developing settlements in space to protect ourselves against Earth-bound catastrophes like nuclear war and radical climate change.'