Correspondence Section.

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Letter #1.0

Financing Terraforming.
This letter is meant to cover the possible future where NASA and it's
international equivalent companions have completed a first study of Mars,
and have sponsored at least one peopled mission to the planet, and no
life form and no fossils of life forms have been found. In such a
situation, the possibilities of further search, and future missions might
need to be financed by nongovernmental entities.
I suggest that within the structure  of International Earth Law an
international corporation which I will temporarily name "The Mars
Planetary Development Corporation" (Ticker Symbol MPDC) could be created.
It does not need to have that name, but for now it can.
The corporation would be granted entitlement to a certain portion of all
of the subsurface mineral rights on Mars, for a certain period of time.  
Let's say 25% of extracted minerals for 100 years.  The corporation would
also be given title to  the entire land surface of Mars forever, or until
they sold the land to someone.  They would also be given long term patent
rights to any life form found on Mars,  with the restriction that if such
a life form is found to exist, and MPDC has been proven to have exercised
poor judgement in assuring it's continued survival, the patent rights
will be taken away and assigned to another entity.  This will cause Mars
Planetary Development Corporation to Search for and Protect Martian Life
Forms.  This takes care of the Profit/Greed motivation, for exploring and
developing Mars.
A process would modify this setup where the Citizens of Earth would all
have a participation in the Corporation, which they could continue with
or sell.  Every Earth Citizen would be given equal shares in the Mars
Planetary Development Corporation, which they could retain as private
property or sell.  Every Earth Citizen could be given equal shares in the
Mars Planetary Development Corporation. Perhaps one Share at Birth. Any
person could buy more existing shares, but new shares could only be
created by the birth of a person. The Following exceptions to that rule
could also be applied:
Exception 1:  If some large population group demonstrated bad will by
trying to render the Mars Planetary Development Corporation and it's
activities servile to a particular political entity that wants to inhibit
human advancement or some non emancipating religious entity, the
international community could counter this process by making a special
issue of stock that could be sold on the free market to reduce the
domination of that entity. The profits would go to the Mars Planetary
development corporation.
Exception 2:  If some entity claiming prior rights to the resources of
Mars successfully demonstrates the validity of their claims in a court of
law that is recognized as having jurisdiction, instead of enforcing their
rights, they are to be compensated with a special issue of stock which
will be awarded to them, in place of the claims.
I would hope that this formula would have a high probability of
satisfying the majority of persons on the planet.  It balances 1st world
interests against the claims of injustice that would likely be made by
the 3rd world, and should not cripple the development of space.  It
should generate capitol, and all share holders would have the desire to
have the land that backs the value of their stock be improved. 
Eventually the major stock holders would emigrate to Mars, to oversee
their assets, and in that fashion, the ownership of Mars would first be
by Earthlings and then Martians.

Thomas R. Nelson

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