Lunar Real Estate (???)
Buying a piece of the Sun, Moon and Stars!
Two sayings came to mind the past week. The first one probably originated from some lovesick person devoted to winning the heart of their beloved one. Either that or someone trying to get rid of a bad guilt trip. Anyway, the saying is "I'd give you the stars in the sky, or the sun and the Moon." The other saying that comes to mind is "there's a sucker born every minute." For those who swear by the first, and are accosted with the second, there someone out there taking advantage of you. They will not exactly sell you a star, but they will sell you the rights to name a star. They will sell you a portion of the moon!
I'd find the moon scam really funny if people weren't actually falling for it and buying what they believe to be lunar real estate! Decades ago the questions was asked who owns the moon and planets? The concern then was during the space race, and while the US was concerned that the Russians would plant a Russian flag on lunar soil and claim ownership, the Russians were worried about American flags. So, the UN passed a resolution stating that no country could own a celestial body. Leave it to an opportunist to find a loophole. The wording was "no country" it was not "no individual." And so someone formed the "Lunar Embassy" and laid claim to the Moon and the planets.
The Lunar Embassy then began selling lots of land on the Moon, Mars and other planets.Moon land measures are called sercas, and they cost 19.95 plus 1.50 lunar tax. Is this a hoax? Well the Lunar Embassy is in California, and the state attorney general is investigating it and it's claims. The Moonshop is doing a pretty good business over the Internet and has astronomers shaking their heads. When you purchase a serca, you are provided with a deed, a map and the lunar constitution. Prime lunar property is the side of the moon overlooking Earth! Crater views are not guaranteed. Is it legal? That's still up in the air, but I wouldn't hold my breath for getting money from NASA for that rental space where the flag is!
The worse scam, in my opinion, is buying star names. It is also the more common one. The brightest stars in the sky have been given names by our ancestors thousands of years ago. But that is a very small fraction of the total number of stars in the sky, especially if you count the number of stars you can see using a telescope. All of the other stars have numbers for names, it made keeping track of them much easier. The official organization which hands out names for astronomical bodies is the International Astronomical Union. Located at Harvard, they are the respected authorities known around the world. They do not sell star names, nor will they name them after your loved one.
Several companies and individuals have surfaced which claim to be able to sell you the rights to name a star. They will allow you to pick a constellation and will assign you one of the telescopic stars in that constellation. They will send you (for the fee) a map of the constellation with your star circled in red. They claim their work is filed with the Library of congress. And they allude to an International Astronomical Organization in the US which accepts their names. Nothing could be further from the proof, and these quacks are far more of a scandal than the lunar Realtors!
All official star maps are based names and numbers assigned by the International Astronomical Union. No other names are recognized, and there are no laws which prevent another star naming company to sell someone a name for the same star! And as for the Library of Congress, anyone can file anything at the Library of Congress, it dies not make it an official piece of information. So, besides needing a telescope to even find your "star" it might have many names, and none officially recognized!
Copyright © 2000 Kathy A. Miles and Charles F. Peters II