Does Someone Actually Own the Moon—If So, Who Is It?

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Dec. 2 2021, Published 12:06 p.m. ET

A man named Dennis Hope found a loophole in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that allows (or, rather, fails to disallow) individuals to own the moon. Ever since, Hope has been the moon's primary owner, although he has made millions off selling deeds to lunar acreage.

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Here's what we know about Hope, including his estimated net worth and the legitimacy of his ownership of the moon.

How does Dennis Hope own the moon?

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty signed by the U.S. says that a sovereign nation can't own the moon, but it never prohibited individuals from doing so. That's where Hope comes in. He found this loophole and subsequently "made a claim for the entire lunar surface, as well as the surface of all the other eight planets of our solar system and their moons (except Earth and the sun)," according to the Lunar Embassy.

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Surprisingly, Hope's claim for ownership was never actually rejected. Now, he makes money by selling deeds to the moon and other planetary plots by the acre.

Who is Dennis Hope and is he legit?

Hope is a local to Rio Vista, Calif. and is technically the moon's sole proprietor. Many experts don't credit his ownership as being legitimate. Still, it shows how the lack of rules around outer space real estate can be interpreted in different ways.

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While the United Nations never actually accepted Hope's claim for ownership, it also never rejected it. In Hope's words, "I wasn’t asking their permission. I was merely informing them of what I was doing."

Dennis Hope has a solid net worth.

Whether or not experts give Hope credit as the moon's owner (which they don't), his ownership is very real in one key way—monetarily. He's actually earning money on it by charging $24.99 for an acre of the moon. The moon is huge—its surface is estimated to span 9,383,748,198 acres. Hope hasn't sold deeds to every single one of those acres, but he has accrued at least $12 million in profits from sales of the moon and other planets.

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Dennis Hope

President of the Galactic Government, Lunar Embassy

Net worth: $12 million

  • In 1980, Dennis Hope found a loophole in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
  • The United Nations never gave him express approval of ownership, although he still sells "deeds" that are technically worthless.
  • Regardless, Hope has made millions off of his "outer space real estate" business.
  • Hope hasn't had another job since 1995.

To be fair, Hope says that his net worth is actually much larger at $100+ trillion considering his claimed ownership of the moon and other planets.

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Some people have bought deeds from Hope, but they're largely considered to be worthless in court since he never received express consent from the U.N.

Still, lunar real estate has been Hope's only job since 1995. He took on "ownership" in 1980 and hasn't needed to work another gig to support himself in the last 26 years. That has to count for something, right?

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