Space & Astronomy
US senate votes to legalize space mining
By T.K. Randall
November 13, 2015 · 31 comments
Asteroid mining could soon become a profitable venture. Image Credit: NASA/Denise Watt
A new bill has been approved that will make it possible for companies to mine resources from asteroids.
Until very recently space mining had always been regarded as a bit of a legal gray area - not least because existing laws make it impossible for anyone to claim ownership over anything in space.
To combat this, the US senate has voted to approve a new bill called the 'U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act
' which, among other things, will make it commercially viable for a company to mine asteroids and profit from the materials that they manage to obtain from them.
"This bill provides the boost America's private space partners need as they lead the world into the future," said Texas Representative Lamar Smith.
"This bill will keep America at the forefront of aerospace technology, create jobs, reduce red tape, promote safety, and inspire the next generation of explorers."
The private space sector has been advancing in leaps and bounds over the last few years with companies such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Planetary Resources all developing commercial technologies with the aim of turning space in to a profitable venture.
"Many years from now, we will view this pivotal moment in time as a major step toward humanity becoming a multi-planetary species," said Planetary Resources Co-Chairman Eric Anderson.
"This legislation establishes the same supportive framework that created the great economies of history, and it will foster the sustained development of space."
Source: Smithsonian Magazine
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