Lawsuit over ownership of asteroid Eros

The Eros Project is actually taking the US government to court, supposedly over “parking fees” for the NEAR Shoemaker probe, in order to get a hearing on the broader issue of owning private property in space. But nowhere in the site could I find any reference to a central question: On what basis do they claim to own the asteroid Eros?

Fascinating stuff.

IANAL.

  1. He’s citing “common law” and “inherent property rights”, whatever that means.

http://www.erosproject.com/affidavit02.html
http://www.erosproject.com/affidavit03.html

  1. And then he says the United States of America can’t own things in space, that stuff in space is the “common heritage of mankind”…

http://www.erosproject.com/affidavit04.html

  1. …and that therefore everything out there is up for grabs by whatever private citizens or organizations can exploit it the best, since private enterprise is The Way.

http://www.erosproject.com/affidavit05.html
http://www.erosproject.com/affidavit08.html
http://www.erosproject.com/affidavit09.html

  1. He says one doesn’t have to actually have an object (i.e. Eros) in one’s possession in order to claim ownership of it, plus he’s been planning a trip to it for the longest time now, and he’s entitled to keep it…

http://www.erosproject.com/affidavit11.html

  1. …in spite of the fact that NASA landed a spacecraft on “his” asteroid, for which he thinks they ought to pay him parking and storage fees.

http://www.erosproject.com/affidavit13.html

  1. Not surprisingly, both the State Department and NASA say he’s F.O.S.
    Thank you for this link; it certainly brightened my evening. :smiley:

Ok, page 11. It says he owns Eros because… he publicly claimed he owned it. Duh. Original question answered. Thanks for digging through the site D.D.G..

My pleasure. Really.

I think I’ve run across him before on the Internet, but I wasn’t aware that The Powers That Be had actually officially responded to his claim with anything other than weary shrugs and tossing his letters into the circular file, so it’s nice to be updated.

I especially enjoyed this part:

Though I can’t say I care much for beef jerky. Now some nice Gummy Bears…

This guy is great! I especially like item 34 on page 12:

http://www.erosproject.com/complaint12.html

And geez, its reasonable storage fees–he’s only asking 20 cents a year, payable every century, 20 bucks every 100 years. That has to be the lowest permanent spacecraft storage fee this side of the galaxy.

Since Eros is extra-territorial would US courts have jurisdiction? Wouldn’t he need to go to an international court? Or perhaps inter-planetary?

What troubles me is that our tax dollars have to go to not only answing this loony’s lawsuit, but to paying a court to hear it. Does no one actually care that:

The Eros Project has no standing on the issue (no physical possesion)?

NO ONE has any real enforcable jurisdiction?

Evidently not. So we’re stuck with the bill.

Were I the judge, I’d have summarily ruled that the case must be heard by a court that is convened on Eos.

Tell them that they have 90 days to evict the spacecraft, otherwise NASA gets an adverse possession right to leave it there :smiley:

Drawing upon my middle school education, I can unequivocably cite historical precedent that to claim ownership of “newly discovered” real estate*, you must first send an agent there, and they wade up on the shore, kill or buy off a few natives, plant a flag, and proclaim this land to be property of [imperial power] in the name of [current ruling monarch].

Then your agent can go sample the local hooch, impregnate some indigenous females, infect the native popluation with virulently contagious alien diseases to which they have not adapted any effective resistance, and then loot their gems and precious metals.


*Meaning, of course, being the first immigrant from a society that acknowleges the concept of land ownership.