NOV 19, 2015 10:00 AM PST

Congress Gives the Green Light for Space Mining

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

After a very valuable asteroid passed by the Earth this July, carrying with it several tons of platinum worth an estimated $5.4 trillion, space companies wept as they saw it fly away with having not even tried to take advantage of the moment to mine it for its valuable resources.
 
This could all change in the future, however.
 

Space mining could be the next big thing of the future.


Congress has made it legal for American space companies to mine spatial objects without any kind of regulation for at least the next 8 years, which means that if a company is willing to put forth the money to send a full-equipped rocket to a spatial body to mine it for its valuable resources, what they bring back to Earth in the next 8 years will be free of regulations.
 
Dubbed the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, the new measures make it possible for a commercial entity to claim and keep anything mined from outer space, as long as it’s not organic. Organic materials are off-limits, because the U.S. government would want strict research performed on any type of life-supporting spatial bodies before anyone else got there to taint the evidence.
 
With all of the valuable space rocks just floating above our heads, it seems stupid not to harvest them. Our Earth is only capable of providing so much of these valuable resources to us and some day these resources will run out, so bringing them in from space would eliminate the problem of not having enough of these resources.
 
On the other hand, it would also just make rich companies richer. How does that really benefit the general population? – Well that’s a touchy subject, but at least it means more precious metals for the resources that we consume often here on Earth, such as gold and platinum for electronics or catalytic converters, etc.
 
With the new laws moving in, will companies take advantage of the opportunity to get rich?
 
Well it all depends on whether or not the resources are worth it. A lot of research and development will have to go into making equipment capable of mining space rocks, and then all the money necessary for permits to launch rockets into space, manpower to manage this equipment, and then the time required to get it back to Earth, means some pricy business for any entrepreneurs interested in space mining. These prices may hold companies back since it's really risky business.
 
One thing to keep in mind is that, say for instance, a ton of companies from other countries started racing to spatial bodies to make some bank; how would we regulate which spatial bodies belonged to whom, and who’s to say there wouldn’t be some form of fighting over territory?
 
There are a lot of premature things to consider before anyone could make any moves since it involves money, and it may take more than the non-regulated 8 years to get there.
 


Source: Wired

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 06, 2020
Space & Astronomy
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
NOV 06, 2020
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
Researchers have found that there could be at least 300 million habitable worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. This could mea ...
DEC 23, 2020
Space & Astronomy
It's Not a Quasar, It's a Blazar
DEC 23, 2020
It's Not a Quasar, It's a Blazar
This image is an artist's concept of what a blazar might look like, by NASA. Check out actual shots of the blazar in the ...
JAN 08, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Findings Suggest Dark Matter Doesn't Exist
JAN 08, 2021
New Findings Suggest Dark Matter Doesn't Exist
The existence of dark matter has been considered a 'given' for decades as a way to understand some of the less e ...
FEB 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Why Does Saturn Tilt?
FEB 06, 2021
Why Does Saturn Tilt?
Two scientists from France have figured out why Saturn sits at a tilt. And they say that over the next few billion years ...
MAR 24, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Molecules Containing Carbon Found in Space
MAR 24, 2021
Molecules Containing Carbon Found in Space
It's thought that most carbon found in space is contained in big molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ( ...
APR 21, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Zooming Back From a Black Hole
APR 21, 2021
Zooming Back From a Black Hole
The first images ever taken of a black hole were released in April 2019. The images were captured with the Event Horizon ...
Loading Comments...