Great news: Congress eyes mineral-rights law for mining on asteroids

Great news: Congress eyes mineral-rights law for mining on asteroids

[Ed. – You can never be too prepared.]

The cleverly named American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act of 2014, which was sponsored by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), would establish and protect “property rights for commercial space exploration and utilization of asteroid resources.”

The first portion of the bill directs the President to “facilitate commercial development of asteroid resources” and “promote the right of United States commercial entities to explore and utilize resources from asteroids in outer space.”

The bill is careful to address the need to comply with “international obligations,” most likely referring to the United Nations’ Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which states that “outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.”

The Asteroids Act would get around that by allowing U.S. companies to stake property claims on extracted minerals, but not the asteroids themselves. The bill clarifies that “any resources obtained in outer space from an asteroid are the property of the entity that obtained such resources, which shall be entitled to all property rights thereto.” …

“We may be many years away from successfully mining an asteroid, but the research to turn this from science fiction into reality is being done today,” Kilmer added. “Businesses in Washington State and elsewhere are investing in this opportunity, but in order to grow and create more jobs they need greater certainty. That’s why I’m excited to introduce this bill with Representative Posey.”

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