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Irish moonstruck over lunar land deal

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — Nearly 500 Irish people are certified loonies, according to a Californian entrepreneur who is selling off chunks of the moon.

Dennis M Hope of Rio Vista, who calls himself "Big Cheese," claims that buyers from 114 countries have joined the Irish in the 250,000-mile-distant moon boom.

International treaties stipulate that no countries can own planets or moons or commercially exploit them, but Hope filed papers and claimed ownership of the moon and other interplanetary bodies.

"We have 483 Irish purchasers for differing and varied properties," he said.

The moon sites cost $15.99, plus a $1.16 "lunar tax."

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For that you get 1,777.58 acres (about the equivalent of 2,500 soccer pitches).

With your site, Hope provides a lunar constitutional bill of rights, a deed, a site map and a booklet called "Your Own What?" — which explains the background to the interplanetary real-estate deal.

He says his claim of ownership was simple. "The general assembly of the UN wrote the space treaty in 1967 and in Article Two it states that no nation shall have sovereignty or control over any of the satellite bodies.

"It doesn’t mention individuals, so I filed a declaration of ownership for the moon and the other eight planets and their moons with the UN, the U.S. government and the Russian government in 1980.

"In the process, I also informed then that my intention was to subdivide and sell the property to anybody I wanted to and if there was a problem with this to let me know. They’ve never contacted me."

Now, 19 years later, he has sold about 50,000 pieces of interplanetary real estate. The Apollo landing sites are not for sale, as they are preserved as historic areas that for the good of mankind.

He said a Japanese company planned to build the first Hilton Hotel and a Swedish organization planned the first golf course (only number one irons will be permitted to stop balls going into orbit).

"I am just an average guy who stumbled across a loophole and took advantage of it and had some fun," Hope said.

All the details are on the Internet at www.lunarembassy.com.

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