A piece of the action

With more news last week concerning the discovery of water on the Moon, there may yet be a lunar land rush. While we don't think an extraterrestrial land rush is going to happen anytime soon, the next 50 to 100 years may see a combination of government and commercial interests staking out pieces of off-Earth real estate action.

To get in on the new lunar craze, now may be a good time to invest in our silvery neighbor in space. At the very least, such a small investment of capital makes for a fun, educational gift for any astronomer on your shopping list.

In the past few years, several websites have popped up offering final-frontier speculators a piece of the Moon-and Mars.

A deed to your hunk of extraterrestrial turf costs around $25 including shipping and handling. Your own little piece of airless lunar paradise comes identified on a parchment deed with an accompanying map. I received my own piece of the Moon; it happens to be located northwest of the giant crater Copernicus in the vast volcanic basin (maria) called the "Ocean of Storms" on the western edge of Luna's nearside. My property is covered by powdery regoltih and volcanic basalt, but I am sure I can make use of it-somehow. Someday.

The idea of buying real estate on the Moon may seem like just another nutty gift-idea ripoff-much like the radio commercials that promise to name a star after a loved one. But unlike the bogus "International Star Registry" advertising come-ons (only the International Astronomical Union has the right to officially name stars and other celestial objects), there actually may be a legal claim when it comes to private versus international ownership of the Moon's real estate and mineral rights.

According to various reports, more than 2.5 million people from 180 countries have bought property on the Moon and Mars in sales that have reached over $1 million.

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