World’s Strangest

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The Sun is Not Yours

When Angeles Duran filed a claim of ownership for our sun, Dr. Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, went into full research mode. After all, celestial bodies are his territory. Plait contacted Joanne Gabrynowicz, the director of the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi. She cited The Outer Space Treaty, which says no sovereign nation can own celestial bodies. Duran went for the loophole in that the treaty does not specifically bar individuals from owning such bodies.

In the case of Ms. Duran, she says that simply making the claim is therefore sufficient to ensure her ownership of the Sun. In the past, a guy named Dennis Hope made the same claim — he sent letters to the government basically saying that if they don’t reply, they are giving tacit permission for him to claim the Moon. Not surprisingly, the government ignored him, so Hope now says he owns the Moon. He even took it farther, having sold deeds to property on the Moon… and he’s not going broke, having made millions doing this. At least.

However, there is more to international law than the words in the treaty. Plait explains why Duran’s claim to the sun will not hold up. Link

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November 30th, 2010

Stranger to the World


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