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Who Owns the Moon?: Extraterrestrial Aspects of Land and Mineral Resources Ownership (Space Regulations Library) Hardcover – December 9, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

“Virgiliu Pop, in his contribution to Volume 4 of the Space Regulations Library brings to bear centuries old real property legal theories with the modern day space race. … Pop’s work delves deep into the chasm of one of the most underdeveloped areas of property law … . Ultimately, Who Owns the Moon! deserves a close inspection by anyone interested in the fascinating interplay between the law and what was once science fiction but may soon be reality.” (Chris Kalantzis, Journal of Space Law, Vol. 37 (2), 2011)

From the Back Cover

This work investigates the permissibility and viability of property rights on the celestial bodies, particularly the extraterrestrial aspects of land and mineral resources ownership. In lay terms, it aims to find an answer to the question "Who owns the Moon?" After critically analyzing and dismantling with legal arguments the trivial issue of sale of extraterrestrial real estate, the book addresses the apparent silence of the law in the field of landed property in outer space, scrutinizing whether the factual situation on the extraterrestrial realms calls for legal regulations. The legal status of asteroids and the relationship between appropriation under international law and civil law appropriation are duly examined, as well as different property patterns – such as the commons regime, the Common Heritage of the Mankind, and the Frontier paradigm.

Virgiliu Pop is one of world's specialists in the area of space property rights. A member of the International Institute of Space Law, Virgiliu has authored several acclaimed papers in the field of space law and policy, and was interviewed by prestigious media outlets as diverse as New Scientist,, The Space Show, La Tercera (Chile), Ta Nea (Greece), Geo Magazine (Germany) and several publications in his native Romania.


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Product Details

  • Series: Space Regulations Library (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2008 edition (December 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402091346
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402091346
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,152,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Stott on February 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a superb legal examination of the question of 'Who Owns the Moon'. It is wide ranging yet concise in its facts, arguments, references, and conclusions. Pop debunks the legal myths out there and provides a rational, pragmatic, and logically legally correct summary of the question at hand. His work is highly recommended and I would suggest a must read for all practitioners and students of law, most especially space law.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sutter on January 12, 2015
Format: Hardcover
In the space business they say that what goes up must come down. That maxim certainly holds true for this book. Its analysis of some of the subtle legal issues relating to extraterrestrial territory and resources is at times painstaking, particularly in its first half. It also has a good bibliography that's helpful for space lawyers. But despite its promising start, it eventually devolves into a poorly-argued plea for wide-open commercialization of outer space, adopting a simplistic ideological stance that becomes cartoonish at times. Among other things, it advocates bringing back the frontier spirit of the American West by eliminating the anti-appropriations provisions of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty (OST), which prohibit nations from claiming sovereign territory on celestial bodies (Chap. 6). Even more unfortunate, though, is that this sort of libertarian jingoism will be music to the ears of many space pundits and policy-makers, especially in the US. The author (VP) is not alone in believing that the spread of full-throttle capitalism is a cosmic law, even if some readers will be cautious about his argument that the subjugation of the universe for profit is divinely commanded.

The book begins with a chapter about spurious claims to ownership of the moon, planets and space by earthbound charlatans who could never take possession of their supposed realms. The next three chapters focus on the nature of landed property rights in outer space, including the sources of law, the subject matter of such law (e.g., the question of what is a celestial body), and an exploration of the OST's prohibition against sovereign appropriation.
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