I am an early investor in Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company. When I tell people this, I often get one of two responses:
- “Wow, that’s incredible!”
- “Get the fuck out of here!”
Well, one of the largest hurdles was just overcome today. The US House of Representatives passed the SPACE Act of 2015, creating new commercial property rights for companies that want to mine asteroids for resources. Specifically:
“Any asteroid resources obtained in outer space are the property of the entity that obtained such resources…”
This is a huge motivator for private companies to invest, innovate, and take risks in this new world out there.
At this point, I anticipate one of three responses:
- “Hooray, a win for private enterprise!”
- “Why is the government wasting time on crazy things like space when they can’t even fix our roads?”
- “Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to own the moon!”
To #1, I reply “amen.”
To #2, a gripe that I’ve heard several times already, I can only say that the government’s inability to fix our roads has nothing to do with space. Congress reviewed this law, passed it, and can now stand aside. The roads are a whole different issue.
To #3, I say before griping, read the quote in the Act carefully. Resources obtained. That means no one is pointing wildly to the sky calling dibs on all of the near-earth asteroids or laying claim to the moon. One must hitch a ride on a launch vehicle, navigate somewhere interesting, land on it and mine it, then they own what they mine.
NASA estimates there are 1.1 to 1.9 million asteroids larger than 1 kilometer in diameter, and millions of smaller ones.
Relax. Plenty for everyone.
My next blog will go into other hurdles (and solutions) for mining in space. Connect with me on LinkedIn or subscribe to my blog here.