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posted by cmn32480 on Friday November 27 2015, @01:38AM   Printer-friendly
from the space-mining dept.

An event of cosmic proportions occurred on November 18 when the US congress passed the Space Act of 2015 into law. The legislation will give US space firms the rights to own and sell natural resources they mine from bodies in space, including asteroids.

Although the act, passed with bipartisan support, still requires President Obama's signature, it is already the most significant salvo that has been fired in the ideological battle over ownership of the cosmos. It goes against a number of treaties and international customary law which already apply to the entire universe.

The new law is nothing but a classic rendition of the "he who dares wins" philosophy of the Wild West. The act will also allow the private sector to make space innovations without regulatory oversight during an eight-year period and protect spaceflight participants from financial ruin. Surely, this will see private firms begin to incorporate the mining of asteroids into their investment plans.

The act represents a full-frontal attack on settled principles of space law which are based on two basic principles: the right of states to scientific exploration of outer space and its celestial bodies and the prevention of unilateral and unbridled commercial exploitation of outer-space resources. These principles are found in agreements including the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the Moon Agreement of 1979.

I learned everything I need to know about asteroid mining from Rip Foster. [Read it at Project Gutenberg. -Ed.]

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by K_benzoate on Friday November 27 2015, @04:38AM

    by K_benzoate (5036) on Friday November 27 2015, @04:38AM (#268522)

    People go to war on Earth because of scarcity. There's so much stuff in space, and so, that scarcity essentially drops to zero. Why bother raiding someone else's asteroid mine (itself a proposition so risky as to verge on suicidal) when there are literally millions of other asteroids that no one is protecting?

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mhajicek on Friday November 27 2015, @06:27AM

    by mhajicek (51) on Friday November 27 2015, @06:27AM (#268538)

    To save the time and expense of mining I'm sure. People have always been willing to kill to take the fruits of others labor.

    The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 27 2015, @08:29AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 27 2015, @08:29AM (#268577)

    That's silly. It's like saying there are some many resources on Earth that why bother warring. There will be asteroids that contain more valuable stuff than the next asteroid. There are asteroids that are closer to us in the vastness of space. The will be the same political bickering and shock and awe bullshit in space too, make no mistake.

    Also, much of scarcity on Earth is man made, I'm sure that too will follow us to space should we as a species ever make it...

  • (Score: 2) by jimshatt on Friday November 27 2015, @09:56AM

    by jimshatt (978) on Friday November 27 2015, @09:56AM (#268600) Journal
    You say that like earth is a separate entity from the rest of space. Following your argument of 'so much stuff in space' there isn't any scarcity on earth either because the earth is that very same space. If you define scarcity as the cost / energy / hassle required to get what you need, suddenly stuff in space is very scarce. In fact, the first asteroid that is cost effective to mine has yet to be discovered, so claiming ownership on sight is a very aggressive move.
    But anyway, that's how things work (and if you disagree then tough luck your stuff is mine, now).
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tibman on Friday November 27 2015, @06:30PM

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 27 2015, @06:30PM (#268738)

    It sounds like your mining operating needs protection from some of these bad guys out here. For a modest fee i'll make sure nothing bad happens to you. Because it would be a shame if something bad happened here.

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