Before we left for our August break, there was a story about an American company selling rights to mine the Moon which led me to ask, 'Who owns the moon?
Obviously not this American company which makes me wonder how stupid those paying them for the extraterrestrial real estate must be because property rights can only have legal force when they are recognised by a sovereign government and as per Article II of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, no sovereign Governments reach goes up as far as the moon so good luck cashing in that moon property piece of paper sucker.
Another argument is that if someone just turned up and occupied it, would become the de facto owner?
Surprisingly there is nothing to stop just this happening, much in the way the British just turned up in Australia and North America and claimed it as their own only there would be less Natives to brush aside on the moon.
Sending a probe is not enough, you have to physically be there 'body and mind' to claim it so Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin missed a trick there, they could have claimed ownership and ruled over their own piece of Solar System.
The International Space Community know about this loophole and are currently running around trying to get nations to sign up to a Moon Agreement which will stop anyone just sticking a flag in the moon and claiming it but as the only signatories so far are 16 nations without a space program, the moon may one day be the next site for some of our more expansionist nations.