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Dennis Hope: Looney?

One day in November 1980, Dennis Hope, an unemployed ventriloquist going through a rough divorce, found himself driving along a road in northern California, thinking to himself: "If only I had a lot of property." He then looked out the window at the moon and thought: "There's a lot of property!"

Hope learned that, while the United Nation's Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prevents 'governments' from claiming ownership to extraterrestrial real estate, nothing barred him from claiming the property rights as a private individual. Hope promptly staked claims to the moon, Mars, Venus and Jupiter's moon Io. Over the next 20 years alone, he sold some 400 million acres on the moon, for a tidy sum of $6 million.

[Hope's legal staff also successfully thwarted dozens of attempts by rival companies to follow suit.]

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