Private companies should be able to buy land on The Moon or other planets for tourism, mining or even to sell property, a space policy expert has said.
Rand Simberg said that if governments started to provide property rights then entrepreneurs and billionaires might pile in and invest - and added that the 'time is ripe'.
He has proposed a law that would circumvent the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which states no individual or government can have sovereignty over any body in space.
But such a move would mark a huge change in how mankind sees space and could open up the galaxy to a debacle akin to the Colonial era ‘Scramble for Africa’.
One government going alone might also incur the wrath of other nations who all remain signed up to the Outer Space Treaty.
Mr Simberg, who is based in the US, says that the law is open to challenge and does not explicitly forbid anybody from owning chunks of planets, so needs clearing up anyway.
Wired.com reported that his plan is called the Space Settlement Prize Act and was unveiled earlier this month at US conservative think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Any new law would have to work around the 1979 Moon Treaty Act which stops any nation from claiming sovereignty over The Moon, though major countries like the US and Russia have not ratified it.
Legal loophole could let billionaires BUY other planets before human settlers arrive (and they could even snap up the Moon) | Mail Online