There’s a lot of potential reportedly outside of our planet, and Luxembourg is looking at space mining as a promising industry to tackle. Now, it’s a matter of how ethical this is.
- Luxembourg is the first European country to express interest in space mining
- One 150 feet wide asteroid can hold resources valued at $150 billion
- Resources could be unique materials, or ice water, platinum, and palladium
- The nation would have to work with Planetary Resources or Deep Space Industries
A few months ago, the U.S. passed the Space Act of 2015, and came under fire for it standing in conflict with the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. It clearly stated that all aspects of space mining and its resources should benefit mankind and the whole planet. Now just one country, such as the one who is funding the exploring. Numerous nations signed it around five decades ago, the U.S. among them.
And yet, it seems that we are looking more closely at space mining as a way to find valuable resources. More specifically, resources that would bring profit only to the specific nation as the plan would be to make an asteroid private property. So, in spite of the old treaty, countries are starting to look at getting their hands on real estate in space. Apparently, there’s nothing like wanting to dig your flag in and tell the world that it’s yours.
That poses as a huge conundrum as it will clearly only profit already rich nations. Poor countries do not have the resources to explore space objects beyond the limits of our planet. In essence, it will serve to make the rich richer. Reportedly, a 150 feet wide asteroid could hide resources that are worth $150 billion. That’s
one pricy space rock, yet there are only a handful of countries who will have the funds to start exploring.
After the U.S., others are following in suit, in spite of the conflicts. Luxembourg, the small and wealthy nation, has expressed its interest in space mining. It’s the first European country that is inching toward that industry. According to Luxembourg’s economy minister, Etienne Schneider, space resources could further lead to a “thriving space economy” and “human expansion into the solar system”. This will allegedly help future manned missions even beyond Mars.
There are a lot of materials out on an asteroid that could fund future space exploration missions. There is the potential for ice water, platinum, and palladium existing just under the surface of space rocks. Companies such as Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are at the head of the charge. Now, with Luxembourg joining the fold, the “beginning of the gold rush in space” is at hand. They’re “delighted” to see the nation’s leadership and initiation.
There are around 13,000 asteroids that are moving close to Earth and pose as potential resources. According to Chris Lewicki from Planetary Resources, it’s expected that they will start sending autonomous robots on the space objects during the 2020s. However, the ethics of the matter will likely continue to be debated.
Image source: peacepalacelibrary.nl