by John C. Snider In 1967, the United Nations signed the Outer Space Treaty, which forbids any government from claiming the Moon (or any part of space for that matter). The treaty failed to mention anything about private individuals or corporations, so a second treaty forbidding anyone from claiming ownership of extraterrestrial real estate was proposed. Only a handful of nations (none of them space-faring) signed this treaty. This left a loophole in international law as big as the void of space itself. Oops. In 1980, Dennis Hope sent letters to the United Nations, the United States government and the government of the former Soviet Union, informing them that he was officially claiming ownership of all planetary and lunar surfaces (aside from the Earth) in our solar system. He even gave them the opportunity to respond if they had objections, and as crazy as it sounds, he hasn't heard a word from any of them since. So...for twenty years Dennis Hope has been selling plots on the Moon, Mars and other heavenly bodies - for a pretty reasonable price! And he's been pursuing this as not just a novelty sale, but a serious real estate transaction (complete with covenants and bylaws that prevent the unsightly or trivial usage of the property). His sales are accelerating, and within a couple of years he anticipates he'll have a constituency in the millions - enough to put serious pressure on the UN and the U.S. to recognize the government of Luna (never mind that not a single landlord has set foot on the property yet). We talked to Dennis Hope, head of the Lunar Embassy and the self-described "Head Cheese," just after the holiday season.