ASTEROID MINING: US CONGRESS CONSIDERS BILLS, AND SOME HIGH OCTANE ...September 30, 2014
Recently I had a fascinating conversation with former Assistant Secretary of HUD Catherine Austin Fitts, and the subject of our conversation was - as it often is - space, and global finance, and the links between the two. We'll get back to that, but I wanted to mention it in connection to today's article, which was shared by Mr. S.D.:
As noted, the 1966 UN Space Treaty " already prohibits national appropriation of space resources. Basically, mining the moon is legally off limits," but asteroids are that wonderful "gray area" that's now being looked at for commercial exploitation. But really, folks, with the recent Chinese announcement about their willingness to mine the Moon, it would appear that the 1966 treaty is a dead letter, simply because financial exigencies and technological developments are once again proceeding faster than international jurisprudence can adapt.
Hence the need for "legislation" protecting investors, a necessary component to the minimization of risk in space commerce:
"As the commercial space industry grows, with billions of dollars already invested, entrepreneurs argue they should be able to own what they find. The costs are simply too great to risk having their discoveries taken from them by governments or competitors.
"Lewicki says the lack of legal certainty over ownership is already giving potential investors pause and hurting his company's growth.
"Other private companies aren't the only competition, either. Lewicki says China has launched unmanned exploratory missions to asteroids as well as the moon, and Nasa is working on a manned mission to collect samples from a near-Earth asteroid in the 2020s."If the US wants its private space industry to jump into the fray, argues Lopez-Alegria, legislators must create a more "predictable environment" in which companies can "enjoy the rights of their extraction or to extract without interference" in space."