When you were younger, you may have heard of the "Chander Buri (Old woman of the Moon)".
The old woman uses - a spinning wheel on the Moon.
Did the story ever make you want to live on the Moon?
What if you could buy land on the Moon, build a house, live with a family and grow old while having the "Chander Buri" as your neighbour?
You can check out websites like lunarregistry.com to pick a place near bay of rainbows, lake of dreams, lake of happiness, sea of tranquillity, the lunar alps, sea of nectar, sea of serenity, ocean of storms, sea of rains, or sea of vapours.
For less than $40, you can get an acre of land on the Moon.
There are many websites like this one which make such claims, but can you actually buy land on the Moon?
The answer is an absolute no. No one can because of "space law".
The United States and the Soviet Union had been running a space race for quite a while before Americans finally landed on the Moon in July 1969.
Due to their competitive nature and superiority complex, speculations arose that the winner will abuse the resources.
For this reason, on January 27, 1967, the US, UK and Soviet Union signed "The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies" which is also known as the "The Outer Space Treaty".
On October 20, 1967, it went into effect and became the foundation of the international space law.
According to a report published in Universe Today, the United Nations has a dedicated office, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) who looks after this treaty.
Article II of the treaty states, "Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means."
According to this, the Moon is not up for any nation to claim as its own, it is for everyone living on the planet Earth.
However, the treaty does not specify the rule for individuals.
Because of this, some have argued that property rights should be recognised on the basis of jurisdiction rather than territorial sovereignty.
Then again, Article VI of the treaty states that governments are responsible for the actions of any party therein.
So, it is clear that the treaty is meant to apply to all entities, public or private.
According to Article VI, "States Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, whether such activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present treaty. The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorisation and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty."
In other words, any person, organisation, or business that works in space is accountable to their government.
However, as there is no clear mention of private property, some claim this to be a loophole and are well on their way to sell land on the Moon.
To address this confusion, on December 18, 1979, the UN representatives proposed the "Agreement Governing the Activities on the Moon and Other Celestial Objects" or "The Moon Treaty" or "Moon Agreement".
This convention was meant to establish a legal basis for the use of the Moon and other celestial bodies.
Like the Outer Space Treaty, this agreement also stated that the Moon would be used for the good of all mankind and not for the good of any individual entity.
The treaty also banned weapon testing and declared that any scientific research done will be shared with the international community, and that no one can claim anything.
This means that there can be missions where scientists can put up labs on the Moon to conduct research. But by no means can they declare that they own the land.
So, if someone hands out a piece of paper to you claiming that you now own real estate on the Moon, no matter how legal they tell you it is, just run away from the scam.
And even if you somehow manage to get up there, extreme temperature and low gravity would make living there difficult.