So far, we haven’t heard of any space miner plucking valuable minerals form an asteroid or any other celestial body. However, if anyone wishes or tries to do so, there will be a legal framework firmly in place. This is because President Barack Obama has signed the US CSLCA or Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act into law.
This action of President Obama is in support of our rights of extracting, using, and selling resources from celestial bodies such as Mars, the moon and, of course, asteroids. It will provide space-minded entrepreneurs with immense opportunity of making best use of the resources from space.
Eric Anderson, the cofounder and co-chairman of Planetary Resources, Redmond, said that this event marks the greatest ever recognition of property rights. According to him, this legislation forms a supportive framework similar to the ones responsible for creating the greatest economies on this planet. Anderson believes that this step by the US president will be encouraging the persistent development of space.
Anderson’s company, on the other hand, has stated that we might one day see the asteroid mining industry producing a yearly turnover worth trillions of dollars. However, according to the company officials, such an outcome is dependent significantly on the formation of a space-faring infrastructure that will be using off-earth water and raw materials from asteroids located close to the earth.
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Additionally, it’s also reliant on the formation of a legal infrastructure that would allow miners to keep the resources with them. The new law forms the base of such an infrastructure. The law directly addresses the nearer-term issues, for instance, it expands the existing learning period for regulation of the private-sector spaceships to 2023. Examples of private-sector spaceships affected by this law include SpaceShipTwo from Virgin Galactic and New Shepard from Blue Origin.
However, those are not the things that has made President Obama’s action a widely talked about topic. People, particularly the entrepreneurs and lawmakers, are more interested in the implications of the legislation for space property rights.
US Rep. Lamar Smith, the head of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, said that natural resources in the solar system have immense potential of facilitating and supporting human endeavors both on Earth and in outer space.