Dennis Hope hadn’t worked for a year and was running out of money when he had his light bulb moment. “I was trying to think what would really make me happy,” he explains in this short New York Times doco. “And I thought that if I owned some property, I could get a mortgage and move to Los Angeles… I looked out the window and saw the moon. And I thought to myself, ‘there’s a lot of property.’”
This watershed moment happened back in 1980, and Hope’s been selling lunar real estate ever since. His claim of ownership rests on a nifty ‘loophole’ (his word): while the 1967 Outer Space Treaty rules against any nation claiming ownership of any satellite body, it says nothing about individuals doing so. After lodging his declaration of ownership with the UN, Hope heard nothing back – which he took to mean that the moon was his.
Exactly who’s ribbing whom in this video is hard to tell. The Times have taken a tongue-in-cheek approach, and Hope seems too shrewd a businessman to have simply fallen in on dumb luck. The man’s making bank after all: the starting rate for an acre of the moon is 24 buckeroos, and he claims to have sold almost 600 million interstellar acres thus far. Getting in on Earth’s property market looking not overly feasible? Cash in on your bit of moon here.