The Final Frontier

This Man Will Sell You a Patch of the Moon for $19.99 (Plus a Lunar Tax)

Dennis M. Hope is the “big cheese” at the Moon Shop.
(Photo: Moon Shop)

(Photo: Moon Shop)

Dennis M. Hope is in real estate, but not of the earthly sort. He’s actually been selling properties on the moon, Mars and other planets since 1980 from his office in Gardnerville, Nevada.

This weekend, The New York Times ran a short documentary about Mr. Hope and his lunar real estate business, which is of questionable legal standing. Mr. Hope believes that he owns the moon due to a legal loophole in Article Two of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

That article says that “no nation by appropriation shall have sovereignty or control over any of the satellite bodies.” Mr. Hope believes that because the treaty doesn’t say a person can’t own the moon, he’s perfectly entitled to filing for ownership for it.

“Nowhere in the outer space treaty does it mention anything about individuals,” Mr. Hope told The New York Times. “This is the loophole that gave me the impetus to file a claim of ownership over the moon.”

Mr. Hope then sent a note to the U.N. saying that it should contact him if it has a legal problem with his claim to the moon. Since it never did, Mr. Hope has been operating his lunar real estate business based on the notion that yep, he’s king of the moon. He says he’s sold over 600 million acres on the moon so far, with about 200 properties sold a day.

It’s only $19.99 (plus a “lunar tax” of $1.51 plus $10 for shipping and handling), which is actually kind of a deal, even if it is a scam–just think of the novelty. You even get an official lunar deed. Too bad Valentine’s Day is over.

The documentary is part of a press ramp up for the EPIX film Lunarcy!, which premieres April 3rd.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com