Moon Treaty Law and Legal Definition

Moon Treaty or Moon Agreement is an agreement governing the activities of states on the moon and other celestial Bodies. It is an international treaty that turns jurisdiction of all heavenly bodies, including the orbits around such bodies over to the international community. Thus, all activities must conform to international law.

The Treaty was codified in 1979. Its basic purpose was to insure that any wealth obtained from the Moon by any space faring nation was to be distributed to all the people of the world. This treaty was the culmination of the time when the world's underdeveloped nations were attempting to use international forums to assert their rights as sovereign nations and to obtain their share of the world's and space's resources.

In practice, it is a failed treaty since it has not been ratified by any nation which engages in self-launched manned space exploration or has plans to do so (e.g. the United States, European Union, Russian Federation, People's Republic of China, Japan, and India) since its creation in 1979, and thus has a negligible effect on actual spaceflight.