Professor Ilya Somin, writing on the Volokh Conspiracy, offers a coolly rational argument for extra-terrestrial property rights: "While some government-owned facilities in space and on the Moon are probably inevitable and desirable, imposing government ownership on all property beyond Earth orbit, as the conventional interpretation of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty seems to do, is a recipe for disaster." His measured lines doubtless do more to promote the cause of E.T. homesteading than the sort of rash thing I'm apt to blurt out: "Let's just launch, leave the bureaucrats dirt-bound, and lay claim to the sky!" Further to his credit, Prof. Somin probably does not have to climb down from his desk when he's finished orating, either.
For all that, though, he cannot hide his vivid imagination. Prof. Somin let's slip the kernel of a great idea for a ripping good yarn: "A vast socialist empire in space is no more likely to be a good idea than earthbound socialist empires have been." Just think what the likes of Neal Stephenson could make from that! A novel crossing decades and light-years, charting the struggle to escape both tyranny and gravity--"Star Wars" meets "Lord of the Rings."