Christian Nordqvist reports:
Market Business News comments:Owning an asteroid is now legal in the Unites States, after President Barack Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (H.R. 2262) into law, effectively reversing decades of space law. Before the new law was signed, space had been largely treated as publicly owned, i.e. nobody could claim commercial ownership of anything in outer space.Now, US citizens have the right to own the asteroid resources they obtain, which several companies, including Planetary Resources Inc., say will encourage the commercial exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids.Eric Anderson, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Planetary Resources, Inc., said:“This is the single greatest recognition of property rights in history. This legislation establishes the same supportive framework that created the great economies of history, and will encourage the sustained development of space.”
Asteroids are rich in precious metals and minerals. Mining them could become a giant business. But companies need to know that what they harvest is theirs.
The new US law states:
A United States citizen engaged in commercial recovery of an asteroid resource or a space resource under this chapter shall be entitled to any asteroid resource or space resource obtained, including to possess, own, transport, use, and sell the asteroid resource or space resource obtained in accordance with applicable law, including the international obligations of the United States.
The full text of H.R. 2262, the “U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act,” is here.