Mining asteroids might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, and for good reason. You can even find the procedure in Star Trek. However, after Obama passed the law allowing for the practice, many skeptics have arisen. Keep reading to find out why asteroid mining might be illegal despite the new law permitting it.
- Asteroids are made out of minerals, and can be mined for metals like nickel, iron, and titanium
- Water can also be mined from asteroids, reducing the cost of keeping people in space
- The biggest difficulty to asteroid mining is actually mounting a space expedition
Ever since Barack Obama signed the law offering legal property of resources mined from asteroids and the moon to the parties who do the mining, a big number of experts have been criticizing the decision.
As the first ship equipped to start mining is set to launch this month, other parties are coming up with some interesting theories regarding the future of the fresh industry.
Many are predicting a new gold rush (an asteroid rush, would you say?) due to the large amounts of precious materials and rare metals.
Companies can now travel to outer space and start mining for gold, platinum, and other useful materials.
The new law also allows for private companies to build their spaceships privately, without government supervision, and is more or less meant to speed up the development of a new industry.
However, there are critics, and very well documented and versed critics, at that, who claim that the law Obama passed is in contradiction with 1967’s International Space Treaty (yes, we have that! How awesome is that?).
According to the treaty, laying claim or ownership of a planet, or any other astral object is forbidden by law.
But there is really no mention in the treaty regarding asteroid or any other type of mining.
Critics have a number of valid points of view regarding why the new law is in breach of the 1967 treaty.
For one, it isn’t really Obama’s right to give US citizens permission to personally mine objects from outer space, since according to the treaty, they do not belong to anyone. So basically, all other countries would be stuck collecting resources from Earth, while USA is opening up its doors and taking international resources for themselves.
There are multiple other points of view, but according to specialists, nothing can really be determined until legal suit is taken against a party, since it would be a first-time situations in all international courts of law.
Iamge source: Wikimedia