could some billionaire just wake up one morning and decide that when he dies, he’s going to be buried on the moon?


What are the laws actually guiding issues like this? Who actually owns space bodies? Is outer space actually a no man’s land?

In: 3

Pretty much all countries that have a chance of reaching space are in the UN, and the UN has guidelines for extraterrestrial practices. Even the countries that aren’t in the UN will have to follow the guidelines, or they will risk pissing off the UN, which is a horrible thing to do.

There is the Outer Space Treaty saying no country can own the moon.
So the billionaire can, in theory, just get his own rocket built and hire people to fly up and bury his remains on the moon.

The moon and all other celestial bodies are governed by the [Outer Space Treaty](, to which almost all countries (particularly those with space programs) are signatories.

Truthfully I’m not sure that being buried on the moon would be a violation of that treaty, except maybe Article IX which requires signatories to “conduct exploration of the Moon and other celestial bodies so as to avoid their harmful contamination.” No one is allowed to own the moon but being buried somewhere doesn’t establish legal ownership.

With private space flight being how it is, and with Elon sending his car into Martian orbit, the only limits are the size of your wallet, and the orbital mechanics required to get your payload (whether that be a coffin, or a stupid car) where it needs to go.

You can already get your ashes sent to space right now. Some companies plan to offer lunar ash delivery soon and there is no reason to doubt this to be possible. The costs are not that high to require being a billionaire, but it is also not exactly paid by selling your old car. Also, Eugene Shoemaker (among others known for the comet that hit Jupiter very hard in 1994) was buried on the Moon already in the last century, so there is a precedent.