I don’t want to harp on the logistics of Newt Gingrich’s moon colony proposal because, well, it’s nutty for so many reasons and Rachel pretty much summed it last night just by appearing in a bad imitation space suit. But in addition to being a really expensive idea (and a possible pander to Florida’s “Space Coast”), building an American colony on the moon might also be illegal. According to the United Nations Treaties and Principles on Outer Space, which I am delighted exists, the moon is not available for colonizing:
The exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestialbodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries,irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be theprovince of all mankind.Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free forexploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis ofequality and in accordance with international law, and there shall be free access toall areas of celestial bodies
Also, because coincidence is awesome, today is the 45th anniversary of the very first outer space treaty upon which the above treaty was based.