Firm fights to sell moon real estate

BEIJING, China (Reuters) -- For sale: acre plots, great Earth views, low gravity, moonrock-bottom prices, about as away from it all as you
can get.
A Chinese company is fighting for the right to pitch plots of land on the moon for sale after authorities shut the scheme down on charges of profiteering and lunacy.
Beijing Lunar Village Aeronautics Science and Technology Co. has sued commercial authorities in China's capital for suspending its business licence on October 28, just days after it opened, Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.
"There is not a law or regulation in China that prohibits the selling of land on the moon," chief executive officer Li Jie was quoted as saying.
"They don't have enough evidence to make the ruling."
The company, which calls itself the "Lunar Embassy to China", had sold 49 acres of lunar land to 34 Chinese clients within three days of opening on October 19, Xinhua previously reported, two days after two Chinese astronauts returned to Earth from the country's second manned space mission.
Just under 300 yuan ($37) was all it cost to buy a deed promising rights to one acre of dusty lunar soil and any minerals up to two miles underground until the company was accused of illegal speculation and profiteering.
The domestically financed firm is the China agent of the U.S.-based Lunar Embassy, an extra-terrestrial real estate agency aimed at exploiting what it sees as a loophole in a 1967 international treaty on the moon.
Earlier this month, the Lunar Embassy started selling domain names for the "extra-terrestrial Internet", which the company says will eventually include Web sites with such endings as .lunar, .space and .uranus.
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