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Who owns the Moon

In a previous blog we reported on the possible future exploitation of the Arctic regions . Here we pass on a BBC report on how The Moon is now up for grabs .

Nevada, entrepreneur Dennis Hope has taken advantage of a loophole in the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and he has been claiming ownership of the Earth's Moon - and seven planets and their moons - for more than 20 years. Hope says he has so far sold more than 400 million acres (1.6m sq km) , that has already made him $9 million (£4.5 million).

But the real development that is about to take place is that, within a matter of decades, the Moon will be much more than a scientific outpost; it could become a vital commercial frontier.

President George Bush in January 2004 committed the US to returning to the Moon by as early as 2017. He said the US aimed to establish a long term lunar base by around 2020.

China - which has already successfully launched two manned space missions - has announced a similar timetable.

Russia, for nearly 50 …