Throughout its history, humankind has relied solely on the resources available on Earth. In recent years the Moon has captured the interests of many because of the emerging potential to use its anticipated water and mineral resources.
As the first steps towards extraction and utilization are being taken, the precise nature, usefulness and commercial value of lunar resources remains unknown. Further, as national appropriation is prohibited in outer space, there is as-yet no consensus on the legal framework for commercial utilization of lunar resources. There is a need to develop approaches to managing these resources in a sustainable and lawful way that provides clarity for governments and private actors alike.
Given the unique legal environment in which these activities are taking place, there is an opportunity to explore new approaches to resource management, which might be different from familiar approaches taken on Earth.
In order to explore these approaches, Open Lunar and Purpose Economy set up an independent legal structure called a Perpetual Purpose Trust (PPT). The PPT itself is not new, but more commonly the PPT is used to implement steward ownership for purpose-driven companies.
In this case, the PPT was used to create a general structure for independent multi-stakeholder governance with legal accountability mechanisms built in. This is quite different even from a democratically managed charity: by including accountability to the stakeholder process in the purpose statement itself this arrangement is self-reinforcing in a way that we believe hasn’t been previously explored.