Eros Project

Complaint for Declaratory Judgement
The Eros Project finally proceeds into the United States District Court, District of Nevada. On November 6, 2003, Mr. Gregory W. Nemitz filed documents in Federal Court to demand a determination of his Rights in relation to his property claim for Asteroid 433, Eros. A jury will decide the case.

U.S. Department of State Responds
On August 15, 2003 the United States Department of State responds to the Eros Project and its claims. This official action creates a "case in actual controversy" which
gives a Federal Court jurisdiction to hear the case.

NASA Makes its Final Determination
On January 21, 2003 NASA sends its final determination to OrbDev's invoice for Parking and Storage Fees for the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft, permanently parked on Eros.

Eros Project Links

Details of the Project
»  Project Overview
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»  Parking and Storage Facility
»  MetroCircus - A City for Eros
»  Eros Facts and Estimated Value
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»  Legal Affairs and Letters
»  Eros in the News

The Eros Project

Property Rights in Space

By Gregory W. Nemitz

My esteemed colleagues have presented their opinions and theories on potential private property regimes in space and their implications. They call for the governments to debate and enact their proposals. This is as it has been for more than a decade. The proposals do not seem to advance further than these types of assemblies. I have taken a more direct approach with my theories.

For the last 10,000 years or so, civilization has been busy dividing all of the Earth’s assets, by creating properties and rights. On Earth, all things accessible are already property. In Space, resources remain "things" and are not property at all, until originally claimed.

Are we sure that there is not sufficient law in the United States for its people to proclaim original property in space and gain official respect for a person’s right to own it? I strongly believe that an individual can originate property, so I originated a claim for Asteroid 433, Eros. The claim was published in a registry on March 3rd, 2000.

As you can see, there are millions of Asteroids in our solar system.

NASA’s Near Shoemaker spacecraft has been parked on my property since 12 Feb 2001, so I have sent an invoice to NASA for $20 for the next century’s parking/storage fees.

This is extremely reasonable rent at twenty cents per year. I set the rent low, to emphasize that government respect for my inalienable personal right to originate a property claim for an un-owned thing in space is the real issue.

Perfecting the Claim
Things in space are just that, things. There is no property until someone makes an original claim. At the instant of the pronouncement of the claim, the thing is transformed into property of one species or another. Claims can be unperfected, but they are not invalid because they may be unperfected.

A claim by a natural person, that person’s pursuit of ownership of the thing, and the infusion of work-equity into the thing, are all are very long-standing specific legal norms that develop official respect for individual claims and personal property rights.

The old maxim "possession is 9/10ths of the law" is interesting here. What is the other 10th of the Law? Since actual physical possession is so difficult in space property, it is reasonable to look at what creates original property in the lesser-known parts of the Law.

An example of a historical precedent is available in the capture of wild animals, as was done centuries ago. When a hunter is in pursuit of a wild animal, the choice to pursue and the pursuit in itself created a specie of property right. When the animal is wounded, it creates another and higher specie of rights to the animal. This is true because the hunter has infused work into the animal, by the attempts to kill it or bring it under control. When the animal is captured and in full control or when it is killed, the hunter has perfected the property right to that animal.

So, here is the progression of the first tenth of property law:

1. The Claim converts the thing instantly into specie of property.

2. The pursuit of ownership increases the right to the property.

3. The infusion of work-equity, another specie of property right, increases the first property right.

4. Valid and legal rights to the property have been created and reinforced, before perfection or actual possession.

These activities create a very strong property right, before possession, and this practice has been legally respected for many centuries. If a judge were required to choose the property owner at this point, who would be the owner? The person with the first claim and/or the most work-equity. All original property rights are created before possession by the originators’ intent to possess.

Work-Equity Appropriation
I do utilize 433 Eros in a virtual way, not requiring my physical presence or actual possession of the asteroid. In my quest to perfect my property right I use Eros and my plans’ perceived value to attract resources, expert assistance, and to instigate the development of space resources.

My efforts that have been spent publicizing my claim, developing and inaugurating a business plan for a parking lot for grounded spacecraft, pursuing past-due accounts, and defending my claim are infusions of work into my property, creating additional valuable equity in my property right. Also infused into my property right is the work of my many esteemed advisors, who have readily given me their valuable time and thoughtfully considered opinions on methods and tactics for defending my claim.

To further the work-equity in 433 Eros, on 13 February 2001, I made an addendum to my original claim for 433 Eros. I appropriated the work-equity of the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft into that prior claim. I am not talking about the data returned. The work-equity is the inherent knowledge that valuable materials are proved to exist on Eros, which is just like a mining survey or patent. The survey is a virtual and in-situ equity enhancement of the property. Previous to this appropriation, NASA’s planetary spacecraft work-equity has been abandoned or thrown-away and was not claimed.

In our milieu, virtual equities are created and used every day. An example is Internet addresses. They are completely virtual and many “.coms” hold very large equities and value.

An Example for Clarity on this Issue:
Let us say a private venture spends $50 million to send a survey spacecraft to an asteroid it claims. When the spacecraft returns data about the asteroid, a work-equity is created in-situ as a virtual thing. The venture has increased its property interest in its claim, via the work-equity of the survey by the spacecraft. The infusion of work has been recognized as a statutory method of perfection of property claims on Earth, for a long time. In this example, the value of the work-equity is $50 million.

The Facts:
When the US government, through its agency, NASA, sent the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft to my property, 433 Eros, on a survey mission, a work-equity was created. The government it is prohibited from claiming, owning, or being the sovereign of any property in Space, so it is unable to direct the disposal of the in-situ work-equity. The first claimant would be the owner.

The infusion of over $225 million in work-equity should be far more than enough to perfect the claim for Eros, regardless of how the present owner has acquired that equity. In the $50M example, the company that owned the spacecraft would likely have the expectation that the survey would perfect the property right. By this standard, my property rights to 433 Eros are already 100% perfected.

Another Example for Clarity
A person is walking down the street and drops a $20 bill into the gutter. A short while later, I am the first to come along and see it. Because I am the first, as soon as I see it and intend to pick it up, it becomes my property, so long as there is no evidence found of the identity of the unfortunate one. I could ‘do the right thing’ and report it to the police, who will hold the cash awaiting a person to reclaim it. If no one comes looking for it, the police will return the cash to me in recognition that it is my rightfully claimed property.

Near Shoemaker’s equity is very similar to the $20 bill example. Should the $20 bill be left to rot or be claimed by another? No, of course not. The same is true with the $225M equity left in-situ Eros by the spacecraft. The first claimant of the un-owned thing, would be the owner. The claimant was I, on 13 February 2001. In fact, it is a waste of taxpayer funds if I do not make something useful from it. Better me than nobody, as has always been in the past, with spacecraft work-equity.

Government respect for my originating property claim for 433 Eros and my appropriation of the spacecraft’s ‘thrown-away’ work-equity, is fully legal and appropriate.

The Treaties claim to have a legal right to deny the establishment of claims. These can be viewed as claims for the entire Universe, and are claims made by some governments to prevent other governments, from making claims. These are circular arguments, and as such may be considered invalid by any individuals and countries that have not signed the Treaties. I did not sign the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, or the Moon Treaty of 1979. The United States did not sign the Moon Treaty.

The OST of 1967 placed severe restrictions on States’ ability to make sovereign and property claims in Space. Since a State may not make claims, isn’t it reasonable to say that a confederation of States also may not make claims of sovereignty or property? If so, the UN has never originated any property in Space. All unclaimed things in Space remain things until a private party originally claims them as property

A Natural Person appropriated the claim for 433 Eros, myself. The claim was specifically not instituted on behalf of any nation. The OST of 1967 does not specifically address this situation of personal claims by appropriation; it solely addresses national appropriations.

The scope of my intentions in my claims is:
Complete Control in "fee simple" or "outright ownership, free & clear" specifically not instituted on behalf of any Nation and regard Eros as real personal property owned by Gregory W. Nemitz, a Natural Person.

Since the treaty does not pertain to private claims, it is an invalid postulate that an automatic national appropriation, based on citizenship, is inherent or occurs with a private claim. If that were valid, a private claim that specifically excludes such a connection is completely exempt from such a postulate.

The Constitution
The logic of Constitutional law is easy to follow. For clarity, I will abbreviate the Preamble:
We the people of the United States, . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In 1819 the Supreme Court held:
"the Court has read the preamble as bearing witness to the fact that the Constitution emanated from the people and was not the act of sovereign and independent States,"

As you can easily see, the Power comes 'ordained' from the people. This is a clear break with the previous “ordained” rule of law by the Crown or Sovereign. History says a war was fought to settle this sometime around 1780.

In the United States, where Federal and the States’ laws are silent, the people retain rights and powers. The Constitution does not mention the topic of originating claims of private property in Space.

The 9th Amendment
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The 10th Amendment
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

As one of ‘the people’ and by these Rights and Powers, my originating claims of private property ownership to 433 Eros are valid, because they are not prohibited.

The Constitution reserved rights and powers for the People, all those that were not listed nor delegated to the province of the government. Claiming original ownership of property in Space, was a right and power reserved for the People, specifically because the activity was not delegated as a power of the Federal government. The Federal government is definitely not sovereign in these affairs.

No mention of any type of property origination is specifically mentioned in the Constitution, so all property origination is reserved for the States respectively or by the People. In common law countries such as the United States, the law dictates that the government must have sovereignty over territory before it can confer title on its citizens.

The US federal government cannot 'confer' anything in this case. It is not sovereign in matters of Space property origination. The People are unconstrained in these matters because the federal government does not have the power to do anything about property in Space, as no such power was specifically delegated to the Federal government by the Constitution.

What basis in Law does the Federal Government have to refuse to respect its people’s rights to originate property claims in space? "The people" retain rights and powers in this instance that are above the scope of federal law.

All my claims are justifiable under the "reasonable man" standard of the Law. I have made a rightful claim for an un-owned thing. I am engaged in a pursuit to perfect that claim. I have infused my work-equity and the work of others into the claim. In addition, I have personally appropriated the work-equity of the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft into my claim, which was a $225,000,000 work-equity that was ‘thrown-away’ or abandoned by the US government and NASA, and thus was available for individual appropriation. By these completely legal and appropriate actions, I do hold the full equity of the property 433 Eros. Official respect of the true situation, is the next step of my Eros Project development plan.

Charles Lindbergh said:

"The important thing is to start:
to lay a plan, and then to follow it step by step,
no matter how small or large each one by itself may seem."

Developing the resources of Eros requires a step-by-step plan. One of the earliest steps is gaining official respect of my property right, so OrbDev may encumber the property with a multi-billion dollar developmental mortgage.

I had three purposes in mind when I sent my $20 invoice for a storage fee to NASA. To advance the space property rights discussion into government so that the issue is fairly heard and acted upon. To gain official respect of my existing right to the equity of Asteroid 433, Eros. And to get my $20 from NASA.

If my claims can be viewed as unperfected, they cannot be invalid for being imperfect. The claims exist, my full property rights remain valid, and my claims are absolutely not premature nor inappropriate. If there is a lack of clarity in the law, that is not a just reason to delay respect for my claims, considering the long-standing legal principles on Earth.

Because my claim is prior to any other claim and is infused with the equity of my work, the work of others, and the in-situ mineral survey, the claim has a higher standing than any other that can possibly be brought forth any time soon. The only legal method to usurp my claims is the physical occupation of Asteroid 433, Eros by a human being.

Therefore, mine is the highest right existing to 433 Eros and in all reasonableness, my rights and full equity ownership ought to be respected so that OrbDev may proceed with funding its development plans. Immediate respect of these facts by the government, can endorse legal access to financial instruments that will fund the development of this property and jump-start the space resource industry.

The reality of the situation is that human occupation of Eros in the next 50 years is highly unlikely, unless OrbDev makes that happen. With an assumption of perfection of these property rights to Eros today, the resources from Eros can be brought to market during our lifetime. Why should we wait for our great-grandchildren to do this, when it can be done now?

I am sure you all are aware that there are a lot of asteroids out there. This first defended claim to an asteroid, for a rock that is not the ideal candidate for development, is a claim that can open the door to developing the resources in Space. Why there is so much opposition to this is difficult to understand. I have studied property law and have made very reasonable claims based on my understandings.

By officially respecting my claim to 433 Eros, the US government will be upholding the very foundation of government by the consent of the governed. In principle, the very foundation of the representative form of government resides in the social contract among those governed, which allows their government to protect their individual and property rights. If any government or Treaty to which governments adhere makes private ownership of private property in space illegal, they've lost their legitimate footing to be a government of, for, and by the people who view Space as a Frontier.

I picked up a pebble on the beach in front of the Stars,
How can it not be mine?
Just see how many pebbles there are for you

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