21 February 2013

Day 194: Who Owns the Moon?

"The quest for rare earths vital to some of modern life's most indispensable technologies may see mining robots jet to the stars within decades, a world-first conference in Australia was told on Wednesday.

Yttrium, Lanthanum and the other 15 minerals which make up the group of elements known as rare earths are crucial to everything from wind turbines and hybrid cars to cruise missiles and the ubiquitous smartphone.

As technology advances, so too does demand for the elements which, although relatively abundant, require laborious and waste-intensive processing to be freed from surrounding rock.

They are a precious commodity - so precious scientists are now looking beyond Earth's reaches for new supplies, with moon and asteroid mining becoming a lucrative prospect, according to researchers and tech firms gathered in Sydney for the world's first formal "Off-Earth Mining Forum".

"It's about joining the dots," explained conference convenor Andrew Dempster from the Australian Centre for Space Engineering.

"I think we've got to the point where people are saying 'yeah, I think we can do this'."

A cross-section of the space and mining industry's top minds have gathered to swap ideas about the latest advances in space and mining technology, from Rio Tinto and Sandvik to Nasa and Japan's space agency Jaxa."

As though it is not enough that we're submitting the Earth to a slow and painful death by mining resources without regard or understanding of the relationship between the parts that make up our planet and the consequences of drilling about - we, as the human race, now feel that we should no longer limit our destructive forces to just the planet that we live on and that gives life to us, but that we should bestow the universe with the same kindness.

We like to pretend that we're so knowledgeable and that we 'have everything under control' - but consider that we don't even understand our own minds and where our own thoughts come from - we're really clueless and arrogant fools claiming to be Gods. Now that is dangerous stuff.

You can read the remainder of the article I quoted above, but the following is really the punch-line:

"Space drilling also throws up the question: Who owns the moon's resources?"

Of course this is the question we're concerned with: who will get rich from this? Never mind that we're going to start picking away at pieces of the universe - something we barely understand to begin with, let alone understand how it balances itself and what role each part plays.

Still - the question is intriguing: Does someone own the Moon? We've all heard of celebrities having bought a piece of land on the moon - who did they buy it from? Are those property claims legit? Here's a part of an article that will shed some light on the issue:

"Under international law, a previously undiscovered island in international waters could be subject to ownership claims of whoever sets foot there first (given that there were no locals).

The one overruling factor to the standard above is Article 6 of the 1967 U.N Outer Space Treaty (the Outer Space Treaty), which specifies that space, as well as lunar bodies, including the moon is no single state’s property. The international community thus accepts joint responsibility for space, lunar bodies and the moon.

One cautionary comment though; treaties aren’t worth the paper they are written on, if the country that signs it doesn’t ratify the treaty in its own legislation.

This means that any country that develops a space programme, which is not part of the Outer Space Treaty, or did not ratify it in legislation, can technically claim the moon by populating it.

Enter Dennis Hope, the most cunning of estate agents the world has ever seen, and the person that claimed the Moon for himself, actually selling one acre stands on it.

Hope established the Lunar Embassy as a body to sell these properties after he filed for ownership in 1980, although the international community aswell as the U.S government always denied he had the right to do so.

Various other companies and individuals attempted, and to this very day still attempt, to find ways to lay private claim to the Moon.

Thus far, Hope and all the other individuals failed miserably in their endeavours... although most of them got to be on TV at some point!

The Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the Moon Treaty) renders all celestial bodies to the international community, and effectively replaces the Outer Space Treaty.

The big downside to this is the fact that none of the space faring nations ratified the treaty into legislation, and all indications are that they won’t do so.

This means that the space race is very much alive, as the Moon Treaty basically states that celestial bodies, even though occupied by a specific country, should be developed for the interests of the ‘international community’ i.e, the world.

The only reason you wouldn’t ratify this treaty is if you plan to occupy celestial territories for own gain, bringing us back to square one in terms of ownership of the Moon."
So, while we're having billions starve - there's people and governments concerned with who will end up occupying the moon. Instead of just ratifying the agreement already - and have the issue over and done with, everyone takes part in game theory strategizing, waiting out to see what others will do to not end up being the losers in a game we shouldn't be playing to begin with. We have no business on the moon. And instead of worrying where we'll get the resources to keep producing cell phones at the same rate - we should rather look at how we can stop poverty. So - instead of thinking 'we're ready to start space-mining' - rather realize that: 'we're ready to end world poverty, world hunger and all violations of basic human rights.' Because we are ready - we have the technology to do it - we have the ability to do it - all that's lacking is our will.

When will we get our heads out of our asses and start dealing with reality? Stop chasing adventures and experiences - and make your life count - by being one of the people who stood up for All Life. Wipe the shit out of your eyes and start reading, start educating yourself - investigate the Equal Money Capitalism proposal and how easy it would be to make this world worthwhile for everyone.




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