Wrestling over moon and Arctic ownership

Someday, hopefully soon, we’ll all be able to vacation on the moon–providing, of course, you have a passport and the necessary visas.

The latter will be required because at some point in the future, some country here on earth is going to claim various swaths of the lunar surface, if not the whole thing itself.

Although the Americans planted a flag on the moon, no laws currently governing ownership of the big cheese. This slight regulatory oversight, however, will have to be solved soon. And a test case is occurring right now in the Arctic.

According to a fascinating essay by Richard Morgan in Wired Magazine, a current battle over ownership of the Arctic by Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the US will set the stage and precedent for future “lunar land grabs.”

The Arctic is the last bit of unclaimed land on this planet and it would have remained that way were it not for global warming and the subsequent melting effect it has had on this otherwise unwanted and worthless piece of land. Increased temperatures, for example, have opened up the valuable Northwest Passage and might also be opening the door to enormous oil deposits–thus creating a rush to stake claims as soon as possible in the potentially lucrative region.

Depending on how things work out, our grandchildren might be taking their summer vacations in the Norwegian Arctic and their winter holidays on the Canadian Moon. Or something like that.