Space Cases: The Weirdest Legal Claims in Outer Space
By Adam Mann | Wired.com
In January, a Quebec man named Sylvio Langvein walked into a courthouse in Canada and filed a suit declaring himself owner of the planets in our solar system, four of Jupiterís moons, and the interplanetary space between.
By way of explanation, Langvein said he wanted to collect planets the same way that others collect hockey cards, and also prevent China from establishing outposts above his head.
The judge overseeing the case, Alain Michaud, dismissed it in March, calling Langvein a ďquarrelsome litigantĒ whose paranoid actions were an abuse of the Canadian legal system. (This was Langveinís 45th lawsuit ó including four motions to the Supreme Court of Canada ó since 2001).
The case is bizarre, but not unprecedented.
ďEvery now and then, someone thinks no one has claimed the moon before, and then rushes to claim it,Ē wrote Virgiliu Pop, a space law researcher at the Romanian Space Agency, in an email to Wired. ďHumankind has a short collective memory, so the claimant is able to create some buzz before the story dies out ó to be followed by a similar story, years later.Ē
As we enter an era when people are seriously advocating that the U.S. establish property rights on the moon and scholars debate the legality of mining asteroids, itís interesting (and relevant) to look back at the people who have tried to assert ownership of the moon, Mars, other planets, and stars throughout history.
In 2006, Pop literally wrote the book on this matter, titled Unreal Estate: The Men Who Sold The Moon, which he describes as ďa serious analysis of a trivial subject.Ē The compendium offers plenty of outrageous stories, and here we look at some of the bookís most spurious and strange space cases.
Inherit the Moon
Alexander the Great is said to have wept when told by his friend, the philosopher Anaxarchus, that there are countless worlds in the universe.
ďDo you not think it a matter worthy of lamentation that when there is such a vast multitude of worlds, we have not yet conquered one?Ē Alexander said.
Great as Alexanderís ambitions were, he never attempted to draw up documents declaring himself owner of anything in the sky. But one of the earliest modern cases where such claims are made comes from King Frederick the Great, who ruled Prussia in the mid-1700s.
The king was said to have sought help from a great healer named Aul Jurgens and, in exchange for the miraculous cures he received, bequeathed the moon to Jurgenís family until the end of time. This story comes from one of Jurgenís descendants, Martin, who in 1996 tried to claim lunar ownership through his illustrious ancestor.
The next year, scholars at the Institute for Air and Space Law in the Netherlands denied Jurgenís claim on the grounds that the donation by a Prussian sovereign who didnít actually own the moon in the first place wasnít valid.
One night in 1936, A. Dean Lindsay looked up at the moon and thought to himself, ďNobody owns it!Ē
Seeking to rectify this situation, Lindsay marched into the Pittsburgh Notary Public office and presented a document declaring that he owned ď[a]ll of the property known as planets, islands-of-space or other matter, henceforth to be known as ĎA.D. Lindsayís archapellago.íĒ
Lindsayís misspelled archipelago included every planet visible from any other planet or mass in space but omitted three bodies: the Earth, moon, and Saturn. The Earth, Lindsay reasoned, belonged to its inhabitants, but he drew up separate documents declaring himself owner of the moon and Saturn. (Why these two bodies in particular needed separate deeds, no one really knows.) He also registered the documents with the Irwin County Court House in Ocilla, Georgia.
Lindsay apparently planned to make a profit with his new properties (he had previously sold his two prior claims Ė the Pacific and Atlantic oceans) though little else came from the claims. Lindsay died in June of 1969, just a month shy of the Apollo 11 landing.
Read the full article at: wired.com
Does Asteroid Mining Violate Space Law?
Billionaires should be allowed to BUY up planets and rip up an out-of-date space treaty, claims expert
Lawyers against law: Montreal legal eagles march against outrageous anti-protest bill
SpaceX capsule docks at space station, opens new era
"Scotty" to make trip to final frontier on SpaceX rocket
Americaís secret space plane has been in orbit for over a year - and no one knows what itís doing
The Ark in Space - A Compendium of Creatures
Spacecraft Footage: The Far Side Of The Moon (Video)
NASAís Apollo Landing Sites íOff Limitsí
Latest News from our Front Page
No Jab, No Pay reforms: Religious exemptions for vaccination dumped
Religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations will be scrapped to toughen Australia‚Äôs new ‚Äúno jab, no pay‚Äô‚Äô laws stripping welfare from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison revealed he is dumping the last remaining exemption on the books after holding talks with religious leaders.
Just a week after The Sunday Telegraph revealed Mr Morrison was scrapping exemptions ...
Inside David Lynch: An Esoteric Guide to Twin Peaks
‚ÄėI learned that just beneath the surface there‚Äôs another world, and still different worlds as you dig deeper.‚Äô ‚Äď David Lynch
If you‚Äôve ever sensed the flimsy, thin veneer of what parades itself as the good ole US of A, and felt a bit like you‚Äôve been sold a fake, then David Lynch‚Äôs Twin Peaks is a series you must see. ...
Third-gender toilet sign ‚Äď now a reality in Sweden
If you don‚Äôt identify yourself as a man, a woman or are officially handicapped ‚ÄĒ where should you go to relieve yourself? In Sweden, the social justice warriors have solved the problem by inventing a third-gender toilet sign.
A couple of years ago, the Swedish language was introduced to a new personal pronoun, ‚Äúhen‚Äú, to replace gender specific hon (she) and ...
Feminist goes crazy when compared to Swedish nationalist
A picture of a media acclaimed feminist next to a young nationalist girl got real big attention in Swedish media last week. It is ‚Äúhate‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúmockery‚ÄĚ to show the difference between the two, according to the collective Swedish press.
When the young nationalist Hanna Lindholm (member of the Sweden Democratic Youth) published a picture on internet, where she compared ...
Massive pollution scandal in Norwegian fjord
The Norwegian government today gave the green light to one of the biggest single instances of pollution in the country's history. A new mine will dump its toxic tailings directly into the F√łrde fjord in the west of Norway.
"It is shocking that Norway is the only country in the world allow new projects of this kind", said Lars Haltbrekken of ...
|More News » |