This interest to explore the Moon is also prevalent among the public and it dates back to almost two decades ago for Hyderabad-based numerologist Raajeevvv, who in 2003 decided to invest in a plot of land on the Moon.
Mr. Raajeevvv purchased a five-acre plot from New York-based Lunar Republic Society for ₹7,000 ($1.40) and he has been issued a certificate-registered claim and deed for the lunar property.
Lunar Republic Society is an international advocacy group which claims to be working towards privatisation, exploration, settlement and development of the Moon.
“About 20 years ago, when I was surfing the internet an ad popped up stating that one can buy a plot of land on the Moon, I was initially sceptical and after some research, I decided to buy five acres,” said Mr. Raajeevvv.
“What convinced me to buy the land was that it was for the benefit of mankind. Probably I may not go in my lifetime but definitely over 50 or 100 years future generations might be able to realise this dream of living on the Moon,” Mr. Raajeevvv added.
The launch of Moon missions has aroused more interest among a few like Lalit Mohata who works in an IT company in International Tech Park Bengaluru (ITPB) in Whitefield.
Mr. Mohata in 2006 spent ₹3,000 to buy a two-acre plot on the Moon which he claims is a long-term future investment.
“I may not get to live on the Moon, but lunar explorations give hope that our future generations might get to live there. The missions are launched to explore the possibilities of water, energy etc. I was a little disappointed when the Chandrayaan-2 failed in 2019, but I am hopeful that the Chandrayaan-3 will become a success,” said Mr. Mohata.
Actors like the late Sushant Singh Rajput and Shah Rukh Khan are also said to own land on the Moon. While the late actor is said to have brought the land, Mr. Khan is said to have received it as a gift from a fan.
Is it legal to own property on the Moon?
As per the United Nations Treaties and Principles on Outer Space, to which India is also a party to, the Moon and its natural resources are the common heritage of mankind.
“Outer Space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means,” states Article II of the Treaty.
A person formally associated with the ISRO states, “When it is considered as common heritage or common property, how can you sell it? So, there is no legality. Even in the Artemis programme (NASA’s programme to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024) they are not claiming anything. But without claiming, national space programmes or private companies can explore and utilise lunar resources. So I think you need to clarify these things at the multilateral level.”
Mr. Raajeevvv said as per his knowledge, there is nothing illegal to own land on the Moon as per the UN Treaty.
“My goal is to do something for the future of mankind. This option of buying a land claim on the Moon took me closer to my goal, and it will be helpful for one and all in the future,” Mr Raajeevvv said.