Who owns the Moon? The trillion-dollar lunar rush for Helium-3

I remember ads in comic books and science magazines of the 1970s selling parcels of land on the Moon. I knew back then that those seemed bogus. And they are. According to this Linked In article, you can buy a piece of land on the Moon (and some shady companies still sell them), but that does not grant you ownership rights.

I just read a BBC interview with A.C. Grayling, a philosopher and author of a book called Who Owns the Moon? Grayling says that a battle for ownership of land on the Moon is brewing. It has valuable resources, including Helium-3, which sells for $4 billion a ton or $2,000 a liter on Earth. And there is a lot of it on the moon.

Grayling said that the Moon is a better place to mine resources than Earth because of the damage already done to Earth and the fact that the Moon is uninhabited and untouched. However, there are a number of treaties and accords that prohibit any nation or individual or organization to claim sovereignty over land on the moon.

That said, there are no binding regulations on resource extraction, and we could be looking at a Helium Rush scenario in the near future. Grayling compares the potential battle for resources on the Moon with the Cold War because the US and 36 other nations have signed the Artemis Accords to self-regulate and prevent exploitation or ownership of moon resources. On the other side of that are China and Russia, who have already been nibbling away at Antarctic treaties and aren't likely to agree to any U.S. led agreements, especially when there are trillions of dollars to be made.

The interview also touches on how the Moon is a kind of stepping stone for exploring Mars because water on the Moon can easily be converted into rocket fuel, (aka hydrogen and oxygen), and how lunar and Martian colonies of the future might declare independence from Earth.

Who owns the Moon?