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Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
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October 25th, 2011 at 6:22:41 PM permalink
Recently, a 74 year old grandma was busted for attempting to sell a speck of moon rock that Neil Armstrong gave to her deceased husband. The NASA goons, backed up by a SWAT team with guns at the ready, took the old lady down, claiming that the moon rock (actually smaller than a grain of rice) was stolen U.S. Government property.


However, NASA's own website has this query and response in their FAQ:

Quote: NASA's "Get a Straight Answer" website

Question
Dear Gentlemen,

If you be so kind as to reply, please tell me, is it true that the Moon has a formal proprietor and who is this man?

Thank you in advance for your kindness.

Reply
I do not know who told you differently, but the moon belongs to all of us together, even you, even I. When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon he said "We came in peace in the name of all of mankind" and that still holds true.



I could read this as the Grandma can have her piece of the Moon, and do with it what she wants. It doesn't belong to the U.S. government, it belongs to "all of mankind". What do you say?

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Nareed
Nareed
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October 25th, 2011 at 6:37:47 PM permalink
The US governemtn can reasonably claim it owns all pieces of moon rocks, as it paid for the missions that brought them here, including the salaries of the astronauts that manned htem.

Still, if Neil Armstrong was given a few pieces, and if he gave some as gifts, then in this case the lady is clearly the owner.

BTW in the near future, say anywhere from 15 to 25 years from now, private companies may well set up on the Moon. What happens then? We'll ahve to come up with a way to aportion property rights fairly. I'm afraid that will be well beyond the capabilities of any existent government, and many if not all will insist the Moon remain some form of common property, or, worse, no one's property.
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Wizard
Administrator
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October 25th, 2011 at 6:58:16 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

BTW in the near future, say anywhere from 15 to 25 years from now, private companies may well set up on the Moon. What happens then? We'll ahve to come up with a way to aportion property rights fairly. I'm afraid that will be well beyond the capabilities of any existent government, and many if not all will insist the Moon remain some form of common property, or, worse, no one's property.



Isn't that already the situation with Antarctica? When I was a kid the map of the continent looked like a pizza, cut up in slices. However, I thought it was later agreed to belong to no country and to be used primarily for science. I would imagine the same kind of agreement could be made regarding the moon.
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Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
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October 25th, 2011 at 6:59:42 PM permalink
Why would it be worse if it was "no one's property."?

I imagine it would be like Antarctica... without the oxygen. At some point the Chinese will get there, and probably offer to sell our lunar landers and rovers back to us as scrap.


And we will buy them.
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Scotty71
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October 25th, 2011 at 9:59:10 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed


BTW in the near future, say anywhere from 15 to 25 years from now, private companies may well set up on the Moon. What happens then? We'll ahve to come up with a way to aportion property rights fairly. I'm afraid that will be well beyond the capabilities of any existent government, and many if not all will insist the Moon remain some form of common property, or, worse, no one's property.



Interesting, I cant think of a good reason for a corporation to set up on the moon but who knows what the next few decades will bring. I think it would have to be "to the victor goes the spoils", unless it isn't a US corporation.

I think the lady owns the rock and should be hers to do with as she pleases unless there is a scientific or safety reason it shouldn't go into unknown hands. Is the moon dangerously radioactive?
when man determined to destroy himself he picked the was of shall and finding only why smashed it into because." E.E. Cummings
heather
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October 26th, 2011 at 4:47:19 AM permalink
If the US doesn't own it, what's up with having planted the flag? I kinda thought that such a gesture was intended to communicate "I claim this satellite in the name of the United States" and would expect even the least-informed observer to come to a similar conclusion.
DJTeddyBear
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October 26th, 2011 at 5:31:25 AM permalink
The flag was not meant to claim the satellite as much as to mark the territory around the landing site. It may have also meant to claim the landing site. But it was never meant to claim the entire moon.
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Nareed
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October 26th, 2011 at 7:10:53 AM permalink
Quote: Ayecarumba

Why would it be worse if it was "no one's property."?



Would you make an investment of billions of dollars if you dind't know the land on which it stood was yours, or at leat that you had a right to it? What if some government can take it away at whim? Or, since we're talking about the Moon, what if they can seize your property back on Earth as retaliation for claiming a piece of the Moon?

Consider how America settled the west. There was a homestead act awarding property rights and ownership for parcels where anyone could set up and work the land. Without that, what woudl ahev stopped other individuals, corporations, territorial governors, or the feds from letting you buils a prosperous farm, say, and then taking it away?

Property rigths are paramount in business. Without clear rights you can't do much.
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Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
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October 26th, 2011 at 1:10:15 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

Property rigths are paramount in business. Without clear rights you can't do much.



Tell that to the Native Americans.

Seriously, the Homestead act was developed to encourage Americans to move West and occupy the land to deflect other nations from laying claim to the same space. Eventually, the government did take some property that was privately developed, or supposedly reserved for the Indian nations, claiming "eminent domain."

But why so stressed about Moon rocks in private hands? Why are NASA's panties so tightly knotted over this?
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Nareed
Nareed
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October 26th, 2011 at 1:29:39 PM permalink
Quote: Ayecarumba

Seriously, the Homestead act was developed to encourage Americans to move West and occupy the land to deflect other nations from laying claim to the same space.



Even so, no one, or very few, would have gone without a guarantee on their property.

Quote:

Eventually, the government did take some property that was privately developed, or supposedly reserved for the Indian nations, claiming "eminent domain."



That's another indecency which should be looked at. I still can't quite belive the Supreme Court ruled as it did on the Kelo case.

Quote:

But why so stressed about Moon rocks in private hands? Why are NASA's panties so tightly knotted over this?



Well, Moon rocks are quite valuable, as the supply is very limited and those who want them are willing to pay large amounts. Most of the rocks brought back were sent to research labs. I suppose some were used up in tests, but most ought to still exist. of course, those in labs will stay there for a long time. As technology advances, new research can be carried out on them. A few rocks were given as gifts, some no doubt have been stolen, etc.

So, perhaps that grain of Moon rock is qorth half of NASA's yearly budget? :P
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