Top 10 People Who Have Claimed Ownership Of Celestial Bodies

As bizarre as it sounds, some people have claimed ownership of celestial bodies, including the Sun and the Moon. Some have even claimed to own other planets, asteroids, or the entire solar system. It’s probably only a matter of time until someone says they own ‘Oumuamua.

Some of these dibs-callers even took their claims further by selling their celestial properties, either in parts or in whole, to willing clients. Here are ten people who feel they’ve planted their flag on various celestial bodies. You can decide for yourself if their claims are valid or take entitlement to a cosmic level.

Jenaro Gajardo Vera

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Thirty-four-year-old Chilean lawyer and amateur composer Jenaro Gajardo Vera first claimed ownership of the Moon in 1953 after he was stopped from joining a social club because he had no property. He had visited one of the offices of Club Union Social and applied to become a member, but his application was rejected because he had no property, which was a requirement for joining the club.

Gajardo was distraught about the rejection. On his way out, he looked at the Moon and realized that no one owned it. He went to the Chilean agency in charge of property registration and applied to register the Moon as his property. The man in charge warned him about claiming ownership of the Moon because people might call him a fool.

Gajardo was adamant about his claim and was told to publish it thrice in a journal as the law stipulated. He did. No one challenged his claims, and in September 1954, he paid 42 pesos and got the document certifying him as the owner of the Moon. He returned to the Club Union Social with his document and was accepted as a member.

A month before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon in 1969, Gajardo accused the US of trespassing and threatened to take legal action. There are claims (probably false) that Richard Nixon later sent him a telegram, requesting his permission before the astronauts could walk on “his” moon.

Another story goes that the Chilean Bureau of Internal Revenue once accused Gajardo of not paying the required tax on the Moon. Gajardo claimed he didn’t pay the tax because he did not know the true value of the Moon. He invited Bureau inspectors for a meeting on the Moon so that they could value the land by themselves. The inspectors never went.

Gadarjo died on June 29, 1998, and is said to have willed the Moon to all Chileans. However, as of 2005, his granddaughter Ivonne Gajardo Quezada still maintained her family’s claim to owning the Moon.

Dennis Hope

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Dennis Hope claims to own Earth’s Moon, Io (one of Jupiter’s moons), Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Pluto. He first claimed ownership of the Moon in the 1980s when he realized that the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty barred nations—but not individuals—from claiming ownership of space and any celestial body.

Hope sells his lunar real estate at $19.95 an acre. Lunar tax, shipping, and handling bumps the price up to $36.50 an acre. He offers discounts for larger plots and once sold 2.66 million acres (the size of a country) for $250,000. He avoids selling lunar landmarks and once rejected $50 million from a group wiling to buy the Moon’s north pole.

Hope has made over $11 million from selling acres of the Moon to over six million people, including celebrities like Barbara Walters and Tom Cruise and former US presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. He concentrates on selling the Moon for now because he doesn’t have good enough maps for the other celestial bodies he owns. However, anyone with $250,000 to spare can grab the whole of Pluto.

Hope also heads the Galactic Government, an democratic republic whose citizens are the people who have bought his land. The republic even has its own currency, the delta, which Hope has tried getting the International Monetary Fund and other nations to recognize. Someone once tried challenging Hope’s ownership of the Moon by claiming to own the Sun and sending Hope an energy bill for using the Sun. Hope didn’t pay. Rather, he asked whoever sent the bill to turn the Sun off. Ouch!

Greg Nemitz

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The near-Earth asteroid (NEA) 433 Eros was independently observed by both Gustav Witt and Auguste Charlois on August 13, 1898. The asteroid became a first in several aspects. It was the first NEA ever identified. It was also the first asteroid ever orbited by a spacecraft and the first that a spacecraft ever landed on. Those feats were achieved by NASA’s NEAR spacecraft on February 14, 2000, and February 12, 2001, respectively.

The landing didn’t sit well with Greg Nemitz, who considered the asteroid his private property. Nemitz claimed the asteroid belonged to him because he was the first person to claim ownership. Apparently, the neither Witt nor Charlois ever claimed to own the asteroid. Nemtiz promptly sent NASA a parking bill of $20 for parking on space 29 of his asteroid’s parking lot. The bill was charged at 20 cents a year for a hundred years. NASA refused to pay, and both went to court. NASA won.

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