Sunday, November 29, 2015

Paging Walter Block: It is Now Legal to Own an Asteroid in the U.S.

Professor Walter Block, who has recently completed (with Peter L. Nelson) a book on  private property ownership of water, Water Capitalism: The Case for Privatizing Oceans, Rivers, Lakes, and Aquifers and who is working on a book on capitalism and private property in space, may have something to say about the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (H.R. 2262).

Christian Nordqvist reports:
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.”
Market Business News comments:
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.



  1. let's hope that an asteroid, owned by someone, that plummets out of control into the earth (wiping out the USA that legalized it) has been sufficiently covered by insurance.

    If what mining companies have done to parts of the earth is anything to go by, it's just a matter of time before some Elon Musk goofs up a recovery and takes out a country.

    er, sorry, we'll get it right next time


    1. Because the asteroid's orbit is controlled by the Corp. owners?

  2. Ah the arrogance of gunverments. Claiming jurisdiction over extra terrestrial property.

    I had read about this in The analogy that popped in my head was of Christopher Columbus claiming property rights for land as he first sees it though a telescope, "I can see it so it is mine". Wouldn't be surprising if he did so, as it is not surprising that the more contemporary gunverments do so just with bigger telescopes.