You can't own the Sun. No. Not yours.

By Phil Plait | November 30, 2010 7:00 am

Angeles Duran is a woman in Spain who claims to own the Sun.

spainsunI mean that literally. She says in no uncertain terms that she has laid claim to the Sun, the nearest star, the provider of light and heat to the solar system. As her claim states, she is:

…owner of the Sun, a star of spectral type G2, located in the centre of the solar system, located at an average distance from Earth of about 149,600,000 kilometres.

OK then. But is her claim legit? She certainly thinks so*. As she says,

"There was no snag, I backed my claim legally, I am not stupid, I know the law. I did it but anyone else could have done it, it simply occurred to me first."

Well, she may not be stupid, but she’s quite wrong: her claim is not backed legally, and she does not know the law. Then again, neither do I — I may be pretty familiar with space, but my corpus is something less than delicti — so I contacted Joanne Gabrynowicz, who is the director of the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law, at Ole Miss (which also hosts a research blog on space law and publishes the Journal of Space Law), and also a research professor of law with almost 25 years experience in space law.

"In my professional opinion, at this time the emerging international opinion is that individuals cannot claim celestial bodies," she told me. This is based on The Outer Space Treaty, a legally binding document originally forged in 1967, but which has now been signed by nearly 100 countries. The treaty is actually quite clear that no sovereign nation can own celestial bodies like the Moon or Sun.

private_moonHowever, some people have figured that leaves them a loophole; they claim the Treaty is silent about individuals owning cosmic property. Technically, this is true — the Treaty neither prohibits nor allows individuals to claim ownership of moons or planets. In the case of Ms. Duran, she says that simply making the claim is therefore sufficient to ensure her ownership of the Sun. In the past, a guy named Dennis Hope made the same claim — he sent letters to the government basically saying that if they don’t reply, they are giving tacit permission for him to claim the Moon. Not surprisingly, the government ignored him, so Hope now says he owns the Moon. He even took it farther, having sold deeds to property on the Moon… and he’s not going broke, having made millions doing this. At least.

The thing is, according to Professor Gabrynowicz, their claims of actual ownership don’t hold any water. She pointed out that international law is based on practice and opinion — how nations behave and what they say about a legal issue. And some of them have said no individuals can own space. In fact, in Canada one lunar property seller was found guilty of fraud and thrown in jail. Any country that has signed the Treaty can make such arrests, though that’s up to the country in question.

I’ll note that Spain, the country in which the Sun claimant resides, has signed the Treaty. [You can see what other countries have signed the treaty here].

Moreover, the Treaty has several Articles outlining its provisions, and Article VI states:

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 authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty. When activities are carried on in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, by an international organization, responsibility for compliance with this Treaty shall be borne both by the international organization and by the States Parties to the Treaty participating in such organization. [Emphasis mine]

So as you can see, the Treaty makes it clear that the countries which sign the Treaty must authorize and supervise any activities, even by individuals, when it comes to space. In practical terms, that means in the U.S. you have to get a license from the government to build a rocket and launch it into space. It’s up to the individual country on how it should deal with this, but it can easily be interpreted to mean that the respective government has to have an active hand in supervising someone who wants to own property. An individual sending a letter saying "If I don’t hear from you then I own the Universe" clearly doesn’t quite make the cut.

Heck, as Prof. Gabrynowicz pointed out to me, just making a claim like that doesn’t even work to stake a claim of ownership of land on Earth. Well-established international law only recognizes nations, not individual persons. You may remember back in 2007 when a Russian submarine expedition tried to claim part of the sea floor for Russia; the international uproar was pretty fierce. You can imagine how everyone would feel if a country tried to claim ownership of the Sun.

sun_notyoursSo, in a nutshell: a) Ms. Duran’s claim is without merit; 2) even if it had merit the Spanish government would have to actively have supported it, which it didn’t; and γ) they won’t support it because if they did the full weight of every other country on the planet would bear down on them since other Treaty-signing countries have already established they don’t support nonsense like this.

So, all in all, I think it’s clear that anyone who claims to own the Moon, the Sun, or any other object in the heavens is wrong. And if they’re trying to sell you a piece of it, well, it may not actually be fraud, but it’s certainly not legally binding.

I almost wish it were, though. Imagine Ms. Duran actually owned the Sun. She doesn’t have a disclaimer posted on it, so anyone developing skin cancer or even a sunburn could sue her. And I imagine NASA or any other space agency would sue her as well if one of their multi-billion dollar satellites were disabled due to a solar flare from Ms. Duran’s property.

If they did, I hope she’d get good representation. She’d certainly need a star lawyer.

Picture credit: flag image from Magnus A. Sun imagse: NASA/ESA/SOHO, SDO. Moon: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

* It’s unclear if she claims Sol ownership, however.

The times, they are a’changing, though. Several private space companies are popping up, and it may not be too long before this issue becomes far more real. "This is the first time in 25 years I’ve seen credible actors come up," Prof. Gabrynowicz told me. "They’ve put their own money up, and are developing technology." Far from making facile claims, these companies may be making enough headway into developing space that governments will need to take this more seriously… even if individuals don’t.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor, Piece of mind, Space

Comments (137)

  1. christopher

    i can imagine loads of people suing her because her property burned them

    i found out about this yesterday and well i thought it was absurd

  2. Andy

    “anyone developing skin cancer or even a sunburn could sue her”

    Yes, but she would be rich by collecting taxes from solar power users.

  3. Kevin

    Yeah, so what’s she going to do about it, since she thinks she owns it? She’s not going to “block access” to the Sun. Has someone checked her meds?

    I hereby claim ownership of NGC 1976. Deal with it! :)

    Phil – your pun made me groan. :)

  4. Doug Little

    Yeah, so what’s she going to do about it, since she thinks she owns it? She’s not going to “block access” to the Sun

    Montgomery Burns did exactly this.

  5. Ethyachk

    Phil, let’s be real here… Did you do all this research and writing just so you could make that final pun? You did didn’t you? :)

  6. I don’t think the law really applies to anything that a person can take and keep.

    If she has the power to take the sun and keep everyone else from taking it from her then it’s hers.

  7. PS. I claimed the entire multiverse over 8.7 trillions years ago.

  8. Chris

    So that means Asteroid 165347 Philplait is not yours?

  9. ggremlin

    I claim only that repeats of “Bad Universe” are on starting at 10:00am EST today on Discovery Channel Episodes 2 and 1.

    P.S. Treaty, Sreaty, Who ever gets there first is the burning question. Hot topic 😉

  10. If she owns the Sun, then she owes me 4.5 billion years of licensing fees and penalties for using my patent on nuclear fusion without permission. I can be reasonable — I’ll settle for one dollar per year for the retroactive license fees.

  11. Calli Arcale

    I love the “if you don’t respond, you must agree!” logic. It fails to consider a second and more likely explanation for no response — they think you’re a total loon whom no one will ever take seriously and thus does not merit a response in the first place.

  12. RMcbride

    I say let her have it….provided that she lives there.

  13. hmm….I think its better for her to claim a blackhole, that was found recently–may be a neutron star–than a sun–I think it’s so freaking hot. Anyways, I’m gonna take that. Anybody wants space thr?? contact me 😉

  14. I suppose she may have to go to the Sun so she can plant her flag on it. I hear she’ll avoid burning up on it by visiting it at night

  15. Jay

    I think that in order to claim a piece of real estate anywhere, you have to actually set foot on it. I’d like to see proof that Ms. Duran has been to her claim.

  16. I, for one, fully support her claim on the Sun. Of course, to claim land you traditionally need to plant a flag on it. So I think we should all help her take a rocket to the Sun so she can plant a flag on it and cement her claim.

  17. Gary

    In the U.S. there are “adverse possession” laws in some states that let you take title to someone’s land (usually a neighbor) that you have been using for a long time (7-10 years) without challenge from the owner. It often happens when there is no boundary marked out and you have been maintaining the land (e.g., mowing the grass on the other side of the surveyed line). The rules are strict, but it sometimes people are successful with this ploy. Ms. Duran might be trying a variation on this with notification scheme, but in the end it’s the one who has the most power (government) that will end up with this “property.” Let’s see if her pockets are deep enough to defend her claim in all the courts in all the world.

  18. Thomas Siefert

    So when Chuck Norris select one lucky child every year on his birthday to throw into the Sun, he is actually an accessory to trespassing?

  19. David Stein

    As I understand it, even if international law allowed it, which is does, you cannot lay claim to land in absentee. To lay claim to land, you actually have to go there, stand on the land to claim it. So this lady, and the guy who lays claim to the Moon cannot own them cause they haven’t been there to lay there claim.

    Now, Buzz Aldrin might be able to lay a claim to some lunar real estate, but I don’t think he’s interested.

  20. Theron

    And I own the Milky Way galaxy. To avoid future legal problems, I cede permanent habitation and exploitation rights to intelligent species for the worlds they already occupy. (“Intelligence” is defined as the ability to distinguish between “venti” and “large” and a preference for the use of the later.)

  21. Number 6

    Phil forgot to add this sound at the end of his blog entry…..

    Did anyone check to see if Ms. Duran is working late nights at a comedy club in a small Spanish town?….It’s possible by this claim, she’ll be able to raise her profile and then book a gig in Madrid.

  22. Sol ownership. Love it.
    *golf clap*

  23. Old Rockin' Dave

    If adverse possession applies, then we have recourse because surely someone has been using the sun longer than she has.
    In addition, she will get a lot of pushback from the schizophrenics of the world, some of whom will have made this claim long before she thought of it.

  24. Rayman

    Why is this theme even argued? Might as well argue she owns any of the oceans. Does not compute at any level. In the mean time, some people still argue the possibility of life on other planets and visits to earth by aliens. Same conclusion: does not compute. Why? OK, first, life of earth has been happening for billions of years. Yet, we humans are recent in the most miniscule of references. IF there has or is life somewhere else why should they have the same limitations as we have? Second, why assume our planets exists at the same time? Perhaps the formula for calculation life on other planets should include a time reference. And even IF there is a possibility to existing at the same time reference, WHY would they have superior technology? Dinosaurs ruled the earth for millions of years and they did not have access to outer space. The lady from Spain may make better sense that life out there, somewhere,superior to ours.

  25. Dan I.

    Oh NASA did I forget to tell you? I claim ownership of Pluto and all adjoining space out to a distance of .25 AU. Is New Horizons going to come within .25 AU? I’m going to have to charge you an access fee off…let’s see…$350,000 ought to just about cover my student loans. I take cash, check, or money order.

  26. Jim Ernst

    Does Spain have property taxes? What would the assessed value be on 1.5 quadrillion acres (undeveloped)?

  27. Jeff

    “legal” is simply what a person/group say is “legal” and have the power of enforcing that legality.

    That is why I connect to this earth and the universe, it is all that is real. Humans are arrogant silly chimps viewed in this perspective.

  28. But Phil – we do have the legal mining rights to the asteroids that are named after us, right?

  29. Squatch

    Even if such a claim by an individual could have merit, I would almost assume the same obligations would apply as they do on Earth…i.e. a physical presence on the “land” itself. The Moon? MAYBE. The Sun? GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.

  30. Pete Jackson

    As owner of the Sun, she is responsible for all damage caused by any lack of responsible maintenance of her property. All people who have suffered from sunburn or heatstroke have a valid claim against her since she has allowed the Sun to shine with excessive heat and UV radiation.

  31. Nemo

    Has Dennis Hope really made millions? That’s sickening.

  32. Caren

    Obligatory Firefly comment – You can’t take the sky from me. :)

  33. Jason

    Couldn’t she also be responsible for any and all destructive weather events since they are also caused by energy obtained from the sun? That would make her liable for all hurricane damage at a minimum. And that is in addition to the the heatstroke, etc.. Droughts would also become her responsibility.

  34. PeteC

    Dear Ms Duran,

    My sun is currently broken. It is freezing cold and snowing heavily. Please fix it immediately.



  35. I claim the entire universe :)

  36. The Beer

    [waving cane].. “You kids get off my sunspot or I’m calling the police!! “

  37. Note: “star lawyer” is not a pun (as that term is normally used). It’s a very mild play on words.

    I was wondering if this risible story would pop up here.

  38. Georg

    Wasn’t there
    a Beatles song like:

    “She owns the sun!”


  39. saltywar

    I bet there are Spanish laws against private citizens perorming nuclear fusion on their properties.

    I’m also glad nobody claimed a certain distant planet, yet.

  40. Oldtaku

    For me the icing on the cake is the bit where she thinks that taxing use of the sun somehow generates real income like building something would – perhaps she should run for the California legislature, she’d fit right in.

  41. Angela

    @ PeteC (#36): LOL.

    Mine is broken too, very chilly and rainy. More sunlight, please.

    @ Georg (#41): I know of the Beatle’s song “Here Comes the Sun” but I don’t think they claimed anyone owns the sun. Lucy might claim ownership of the sky, though, paid for by her diamonds? 😉

  42. Sarah

    Amazing. I had no idea space law even existed as a discipline.

    The two puns right at the end there were totally uncalled for. 😉

  43. I’d hate to have to call the Sun to the witness stand in the event of a law suit.

  44. PsyberDave

    Insofar as ownership is a psychological concept, she (as is everyone else) is free to consider herself to be the owner. However, the concept really only becomes practical when others agree (which, in this case, I assume, nobody else does).

    By the way, I own space. To be clear, I own all space (inter-particle, planet, stellar, and galactic). Oh, and I am king of space too. No treaties have jurisdiction above 60 miles from Earth’s mean sea level (according to me, the king of space).


  45. Tribeca Mike

    She’s been there and back, and boy are her arms tired.

  46. Georg

    Ownership is a right garantued by states, dealing about
    things located within the states.
    So called “international” law is a rather weak thing,
    working on a fragil base as long as no powerful state breaks it.
    Laws need some force to enforce it, outside of a state with
    courts and police laws are more theoretical.
    But You can sing “She owns the sun” on the Beatles melody :=)

  47. frankenstein monster

    I think that all celestial bodies should be up for grabs. under the condition that only someone who manages to build an independent colony on the celestial body can become the owner. Where independent means, it functions w/o any support from earth and has also already built another colony all on its own.

  48. johnson

    She would be sued so hard so fast that it wouldn’t even allow her to generate revenue on the sun. She’ll go bankrupt within seconds. Oh Snap! she’s probably broke already. Guess it didn’t work out the way you wanted to miss smarty pants. :(

  49. MaDeR

    Then no one ever can claim any ownership of any rock.

    “it functions w/o any support from earth”
    No country on Earth is or can be fully autarkic and you want space colony do better? Good luck with THAT.

  50. kurt_eh

    In light of this Solar claim, I hereby claim ownership of the atmosphere of Earth.

    Hmm, on second thought, I’d rather claim ownership of every atom of Oxygen on the Planet (or that may be brought to the planet by celestial means) in any form (molecular or ionic) that the Oxygen may be found.


  51. It seems the one law she knows really well is the law of free publicity when you make bold and incredulous claims.

  52. Aaron Payne

    Now I know who to sue for my sunburns….

  53. VancouverDave

    If her name’s not D.D. Harriman, don’t waste everyone’s time.

  54. Not only sunburn, skin cancer, and weather; how about photochemical smog, the ozone hole, and flare-induced power failures?

  55. Wow…lots has been claimed already…let’s see…I will claim ownership of the third dimension (cartoon characters and Justin Bieber get off scot free, but I think I can make do with all three dimensional people!)

  56. That Guy

    I own Uranus… *face palm*

  57. Bruno

    Though it’s the first time I comment, I’m a regular reader. From Spain.
    I got really ashamed when reading this post; ashamed of being Spanish, I mean. Please do not think we are all that stupid…
    Regards from Spain and congratulations for the blog!

  58. Glen from Oregon

    what the hell is the “sun”?

  59. nnebeel

    Property taxes would have to be astronomical! That’s 6,087,700,000,000 square miles to pay taxes on!

  60. Stargazer

    Of course she can’t register such a claim. Spain has to approve it, and how on Earth can they do that if it’s not even Spanish territory?

  61. Chief

    Actually, I’d give her ownership but with a condition. She needs to do a site survey and submit the specs to the local admin office. Assuming she can afford the survey team and the means of getting them there.

    As for Phil’s pun, I think it is one he has been holding on to for several years and was waiting for a good story to use it.

  62. I think that all claims to ownership of the Sun should be invalid without first homesteading this property for a year.

    When she builds a house on the surface of the Sun, let us know.

  63. gage

    this would have to be the randomest thing I have ever read

  64. Joseph G

    This thread is made of pure, laboratory-quality Win.

    /lolling while lol-ing

  65. Joseph G

    @#59: I’ll trade you a very interesting Saturnian moon for partial ownership of Uranus. Have your people meet with mine, and we can discuss the Titan-Uranus deal.

  66. Tribeca Mike

    Of all the weird news stories I’ve heard lately, this one really takes the tapas. How telling that the “American man who had registered himself as the owner of the moon and most planets in our Solar System” never thought of also registering the sun. Another indictment of the USA’s educational system.

  67. Dave

    Okay lady, you own the sun. Whatever!

  68. Argusnaut

    Ok, yes, we are suffering a big crisis in Spain, and innovate, research, education, and all those things are sooooo boring that just those grey guys from Germany and other northern countries can stand…. No, we just want to continue with the big real-estate bubble to recover our economy… now in the Sun. he, he, he… we are great :-)
    (PS: Since Zapatero became PM, I am exiled in Central – Europe where my engineering qualification is professionally respected and paid… sniff).

  69. Seeing as Spain is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty (link in title), they (and particularly the woman) are in deep trouble for that unlicensed thermonuclear reactor.

  70. If she can LAND on the sun, then fine, let her have it.

  71. Enlightenment

    The woman from Spain is more ignorant than Sarah Palin, and I thought she was the most ignorant woman.

  72. CB


    I hereby claim ownership of NGC 1976. Deal with it! :)

    Oh no you don’t! It’s mine by Divine Right! It is mine, and I won’t give it up without a fight! If you want it, meet me at M31. I’ll be by that blue star. You know the one. And if you don’t show, then you are obviously forfeiting your claim!

  73. Blizzzzzaaaarrg!


    There’s yer precedent for an individual (not a nation) claiming something. And getting at least tacit recognition from other countries that it’s legit. However…I don’t reckon that the lady in question is going to be actually travelling to the sun in order to physically claim it though, the way Sealand was claimed…

  74. julian

    Actually the moon is property of the chilean people. why you may ask? cus in september 25 of 1953 Jenaro Gajardo Vera record the moon before a Chilean notary.

    But no country accept that, you should say.

    Well thats quite no true. In 1969 (You know where I´m heading to) before the Apolo XI land on the moon, the USA president, Richard Nixon, wrote a letter to mr. Vera asking for permision to do it.

    Ha, so what you think of that?, and it was before the 1967 treaty. Ok I know that in 1936 A. Dean Lindsay claim property of all extraterrestials objects (Pittsburgh). But as some folks, when he did it, he didn´t do the things on the laws requeriment. (shame for him XD)

    ust know that he did it in a poetic way, and I though it would be great to share it with you guys. enjoy it

    I couldn´t found the info in english however here it is in spanish (use a translator)

  75. Kimpatsu

    If she wants to claim the Sun, she can go and live there…

  76. meskine

    My mother calls me Son and I resent this woman using my good name without permission to promote her raggedy old star. I think I’m entitled to residuals!

  77. Messier Tidy Upper

    @74. Enlightenment Says:

    The woman from Spain is more ignorant than Sarah Palin, and I thought she was the most ignorant woman.

    Two words for you :

    Paris & Hilton. 😉

    Then there’s Jessica Simpson & quite a few others too … 😉

    Sarah Palin is no Einstein but she isn’t the most ignorant woman in the world by a very long shot.

    Also I don’t think the Spanish woman is “ignorant” exactly so much as really cheeky and silly.

    @68. Joseph G : we can discuss the Titan-Uranus deal.

    Great one – LOL! 😀

  78. Messier Tidy Upper

    @74. Enlightenment : I thought she [Sarah Palin] was the most ignorant woman.

    How about this one :

    Doesn’t *she* win that dubious title? Or at least feature in the top three?

    @44. Angela :

    I know of the Beatle’s song “Here Comes the Sun” but I don’t think they claimed anyone owns the sun. Lucy might claim ownership of the sky, though, paid for by her diamonds?

    You do realise that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” song was sort of referring to substances *other* than the toughest and most beautiful form of carbon don’t you? 😉

    @34. Caren : Love that reference, love that line! :-)

  79. Alareth

    I may not be able to own the sun, but can I lay claim to my own private Idaho?

  80. Ribi

    I say, “Possession is 9/10 of the law.” If she could control the sun, what she’s saying might have some weight, and I don’t think we could say much short of going to war to keep the Sun just as it is.

  81. Jason

    Hi Phil,

    I think it’s just as ridiculous that individuals and companies believe they can lay sufficient claim to the ocean and atmosphere that they can pollute and dredge it without compensation or remediation. I took the Spanish woman’s claim as a brilliant tongue-and-cheek indictment of our ridiculous and outdated pollution laws.

  82. Alareth

    Actually it’s no worse than the astrologer that filed a lawsuit over the Deep Impact mission claiming that the comet would be altered and would result in her predictions being inaccurate.

  83. Does she have a flag? No flag, no Sun, she can’t have one!

  84. Pete Uk

    So she’s the proud owner of the ultimate utility on (well, 92 million miles away from) the planet. We can expect her plans for a capital investment program to replace it when it runs out. That may be a few billion years ahead, but given how much cash she’s going to need, methinks she needs to start now.

    Long term disposal and storage of the remnants (and protecting us) is also not going to be a snip. If she allows her power plant to expand and vaporise the earth (now THAT’S what I call melt-down) I can see some seriously big class actions from, well, anyone who might amazingly be left alive at that point.

  85. Pete Uk

    Actually, I know some VERY nasty and very tooled-up guys just the other side of Proxima Centauri who will be very upset with anyone trying to nick their torch battery, even if they did leave it behind on their last vacation over this way.

  86. once when lord Jatau and his brother Sampati go to at the sun,long ago lord Jatau suffering from heavy heat,he come back on earth,his elder brother SAMPATY also came bake and stay at moon!at the sarface of moon the elixior is falled by when the lord JAYANT athe son of lord INDRA DEO,s,they all got elixior inthe experiment of sea!

  87. Svlad Cjelli

    I have actually already made the claim that I own everything, including but not limited to everything, on numerous occasions throughout the 1990s and the 21st century, starting around 20-ish years ago. Whatever was still unclaimed at that time already belongs to me.

  88. Billy Pilgrim

    Mrs Duran can’t manage the space between her ears, she should limit her burdon with large properties such as stars and work on the disarray she already has.

  89. Otro Oscar

    Its fun she claims the sun when you dont see the sun too much from Galicia, but hey, gonna give her a call to turn the heat up ’cause we are freezing here and Im going holidays next week and would love to have a nice weather. Guess she wouldnt charge me much for being a fellow citizen, woudl her?

  90. Spaniard

    I´m Spanish and I´m afraid now I understand where this awful rainy weather we´re suffering lately comes from. Please Ms. Durán indulge us with a bit of your property because my clothes won´t dry and my walls are a colony of thousands of species of mold and fungi. Please please please

  91. Misora

    Space treaties only go up to 109, everyone from space knows that.

  92. Stu

    If and when we humans colonize other planets, that treaty will be completely void. The colony will be the property of the nation that colonizes it and the individual property in that colony will be the property of the individual that ons the land.

  93. Sespetoxri

    @68 – Very funny :)

  94. Chris A.

    I’m reminded of the (probably apocryphal) tale of the woman who sent a bill to a utility company in California, claiming that she owned the Sun and they were generating using solar panels to generate power without her permission. The company’s lawyers’ response: “If you don’t receive payment in 30 days, shut off the service.”

  95. JoeSmithCA

    I own the solar system, so her claim is illegal since I made my claim decades ago. Also, since I own the solar system and she’s not paid me rent for living on the earth for the past 20 years, she has 24 hours to vacate the planet and solar system.

  96. JoeSmithCA

    Also my claim applies to the guy who claims to own the moon. Sorry, I claimed that first too. Since he’s refused to vacate the earth to, I guess I better call the police and have forcibly removed from the planet. Eviciting people is so expensive, I sure hope they make access to space cheaper soon. Maybe If I reduce the rent for companies producing rockets they can cut me a deal…

  97. Terry

    Unfortunately, preventing people from owning territory in space will also prevent commercialization of space, making it that much harder for us to really get mankind moving off the planet. That said, international law requires that you both plant a claim and exercise legitimate control over a property to get to claim it, thanks to the Island of Palmas case. Maybe she should go plant a claim in the surface of the sun and see if she can legitimately control it.

  98. Vulpis

    I claim ownership on…myself. And you all owe me royalties and performance fees for having me in your Universe.

  99. Keith Bowden

    I’m reminded of a Sunday Peanuts strip in which Lucy keeps telling Linus that he’s not allowed to listen to his music, she wants to listen to HER records, or read HER comic books… then catches him outside watching the night sky and screams “I don’t want to look at those starts I want to look at MY…” then shuts up and walks back to their house.

    “Sol ownership,” ha! I’d’ve gone with “a stellar lawyer,” though. 😉

    Everybody can have all the planets, moons, etc., except Europa. Attempt no landings there…

  100. Ivan

    Haha, I laughed about this cheeky woman the other day, I’m a Spaniard.

    Obviously she’s wrong, but in a funny way this is good for science, as it gave me the opportunity to explain my cousin and my parents a bit about the true size of the sun and some basic astronomy.

    The woman claimed that she didn’t claim other celestial bodies because an American had done it already. I don’t think she’s serious about getting money or owning any right, I think she’s either an attention seeker, a funny woman, or both.

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  104. PayasYouStargaze

    “2) even if it had merit the Spanish government would have to actively have supported it, which it didn’t”

    The Spanish government not claiming territory that isn’t there’s? That makes a change. If only they took that line with their British neighbour on their south coast.

    “It’s unclear if she claims Sol ownership, however”
    Well if she’s Spanish, wouldn’t she say Sol?

  105. Intriguing write-up. Have been did you got all the data from…

  106. mike burkhart

    Some one allredy said what I was going to say lets see her land to stake her claim .The fact is its impossable .Here is what would happen if you flew a space craft to the sun(if I’m wrong Phil can drop me a line)as you got closer to the sun heat and radition would incress frist radition would reach a leathel level and kill you then the metals that make up your space craft would reach boiling point and the craft would desentagrate long before it ever hit the suns surface.

  107. lorne

    I think that “star lawyer” IS a pun. Or is it a double entendre, even though there is no salacious meaning here?
    Isn’t a play on a word(s) a pun?
    Now I’m really confused.

  108. Atticus

    My guess is that she’s been, well… out in the sun too long.

  109. mike burkhart

    I just heard Kaless has just filed calim to every planet in the Kilngon empire ,Empor Palpaten has filed claim to the galaxy far far away,and Decepticon leader Megatron has filed claim to the whole universe what next the space invaders file claim to Earth

  110. Gary Ansorge

    Property ownership laws for extraterrestrial bodies is one area we need to clarify. What would happen if a corporate entity spent billions to land on and develop the moons south polar area for its water resources? Could they legally claim that water and make a profit selling it to late arrivals?

    Of course, there’s the old saw, that possession is 9 points of the law. If I’ve got it and you want it,,,pay me.

    Mineral claims for ET bodies is an area of space law still to be developed. Personally, I hope earth doesn’t try to unduly inhibit such claims(ok, maybe limiting it as we do here). I wonder how BP can claim the oil in the Gulf of Mexico, which is mostly in international waters? I know so little of international law.

    Maybe I should study that??? Then I could run for president, promising to protect American claims to ET minerals. Yeah! THAT’LL get me elected.

    Gary 7

  111. Lanzlo

    This is sort of a shame. I would have presented her with a bunch of Wrongful Death suits from my ‘clients’ in the Supernatural community. After all, it is a known fact that her ‘property’ has contributed to the countless deaths of various sanguinavores over the years, and the light from it reflected off of the moon has cause others of the lycanthrope community to enter a state of temporary madness and commit horrid acts of violence and vandalism.

  112. Steve

    I can finally be compensated for all of the bags of ice that I purchased that her property maliciously and deliberately melted. Not to mention all of my adult beverages that were destroyed as a direct result!!

  113. Bill Stewart

    I once bought an acre of land on the moon from a guy in Berkeley who was going around in a silver space-suit selling them. He made it very clear that he was selling everybody the same acre, but that it wasn’t a fraud – I’d be giving him a small boring green piece of paper, with pictures of dead politicians on it, and he’d be giving me a Big Shiny green piece of paper, with pictures of the moon on it. And he had a great spiel about how he’d been going around selling land on the moon, and pictures of places he’d been busted for it, and about how you’d better be careful about taking that LSD stuff or you might end up walking around in a space suit selling land on the moon or something bogus like that, and really, how could I pass up such a deal?

  114. sandia

    Funny! :)
    For one – she doesn’t claim she owns ‘space’ – she claims she owns an object in Space.
    Two: Earth is an object in Space and if anyone owns it – it certainly isn’t a nation or a combination of nations that can decide at will.. cause ‘Nature’ will teach you a lesson on ownership -it does it every day in various forms (storms, earthquakes, vulcanos etc.). Nature doesn’t know that “New Orleans” for example belongs to anyone in particular when it unleashes its fury. So.. what is your ‘ownership’ going to do?? lay claims on things that change, perish and vanish – IDIOTIC!
    Three: There are no natural boundaries on the planet or in the universe – ‘borders’ arise due to territorial disputes – like dogs pissing on trees – humanity does the same thing and then it believes it has a ‘reason’.
    Four: Laws – What laws are you talking about? Where are your laws if Nature burbs up another mass-exstinction event? What are your ‘laws’ going to do then?
    International Law and Individual Law are equally destructive.

    Natural Law is the only Law! and no National Law which is a figment of imagination can touch it.

  115. Dan I., you can’t claim Pluto! I’m the Plutogirl! No one has stood up for Pluto’s planetary rights more persistently than I have! I might share it with you though if you join our cause. Buying my book would help too! :)

  116. Nigel Depledge

    Messier Tidy Upper (81) said:

    You do realise that “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” song was sort of referring to substances *other* than the toughest and most beautiful form of carbon don’t you?

    You do realise that’s an urban legend, don’t you?

    The title comes from John Lennon’s son Julian. He (Julian) painted a picture at playgroup of his friend Lucy – when he took it home and showed it to his dad, John asked him what it was, and Julian replied “it’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds”. John then stole / was inspired by the phrase and used it in a song.

  117. Nigel Depledge

    No. No can haz.

  118. Ian Hebert

    This woman is out of her mind…

    According to the U.N. Treaties and Principles on Outer Space, which can be found at, nobody can own a celestial body. These quotes from the treaty pretty much clinch it… I include the first so that the second makes sense in context…

    “The provisions of this Agreement relating to the Moon shall also apply to
    other celestial bodies within the solar system, other than the Earth, except
    insofar as specific legal norms enter into force with respect to any of these
    celestial bodies.” (Page 31, Article 11, Subsection 2)

    “Neither the surface nor the subsurface of the Moon, nor any part thereof or natural resources in place, shall become property of any State, international intergovernmental or non-governmental organization, national organization or non-governmental entity or of any natural person. The placement of personnel, space vehicles, equipment, facilities, stations and installations on or below the surface of the Moon, including structures connected with its surface or subsurface, shall not create a right of ownership over the surface or the subsurface of the Moon or any areas thereof.”(Page 31, Article 11, Subsection 2)

    Of course, it doesn’t specify about celestial objects outside our solar system, so… I own the Andromeda Galaxy! Called it. =D

    Anyways, notice that the treaty not only specifies that no government can own a celestial body, it says that no “natural person” can either. Nice oversight, Miss Duran. Honestly, some people will do anything for money…

  119. Ian Hebert

    correcting a typo in that comment: the first quote is from Page 27, Article 1 of the Treaty.

  120. marta

    sois una panda de burros el tratado no es vinculante para ninguna persona, y tal como lo fundamento jurídicamente es la propietaria del sol. comenzar por estudiar derecho romano que parece mentira que tanto hablar y no sepáis nada de derecho, 1º se basa en el tratado y es legal lo que ella dice a ella no le vincula que España haya firmado ese tratado ella no firmo nada, 2º es una persona no una nación, 3º se basa en usucapión, 4º en ocupación por aprensión electromagnética haber si aprendéis un poco

  121. Tony Berkoff

    Besides being an interesting article, Phil, I loved your indexing in the 4th to the last paragraph: a, 2, γ. A true math/science geek thing to do. 😎

  122. ΤНÆ ЅЦΝ

    nooo, no one owns me foolish humans! don’t make me come over there and settle this myself, you know i will.!. and if anyone is to “own” me, all bow to the emperor zax ( he is the onlyone who i will be controlled by!

  123. foolish earthings – we gabigobs own your puny sun and all the out rings of spernoob too. We are thinking of crushing it and turning it into a glaxtic dunkin donuts for our porky space police.

  124. Dude

    I just filed to own the air. I’m cutting off the supply unless you pay your atmosphere tax. How? I’ll send a couple of goons over to choke you out.

  125. There’ll be a time when someone discovers a way to venture the space and it will be corporations, millionaire individuals and governments who will fight to own a planet. It happened before when America was colonized.


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