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Hey, Matt:

If I wanted to own the moon or Mars or Neptune or some comets or something, who would I have to see to take care of the paperwork?

-- JG, San Diego

I hear Neptune is riddled with termites and has big plumbing problems. But I do have a sweet little fixer-upper near all bus lines and downtown Pluto. Well, maybe not, come to think of it. The only paperwork that applies in this case is the Moon Treaty drawn up in 1979 by the United Nations. It declares the solar system to be the property of "all mankind." The U.S. helped draw up the treaty, but last I heard, we hadn't signed it. Has something to do with business interests that want to see us plunder space for the presumed mineral wealth in flying rocks. If they belong to everybody, then they can't make a profit from them.

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