Space mining defined for age of meteoric profit
The ASTEROIDS Act has been tabled in the US House of Representatives, seeking to define the rules for a new era of resource exploration in space.
The Bill seeks “to promote the development of a commercial asteroid resources industry for outer space in the United States and to increase the exploration and utilisation of asteroid resources in outer space”.
In line with the US Government’s fondness for acronyms, the document has been dubbed the ‘American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities In Deep Space Act’ or the ASTEROIDS Act.
The Bill wants to outline rules that will facilitate commercial exploration of asteroid minerals.
It seeks to cut red tape by discouraging government barriers to the development of space mineral industries, as well as outlining resolution of extra-terrestrial legal disputes.
Space is certainly the place for high-grade resources.
The moon is known to contain more than twenty times the amount of titanium and platinum on Earth, and is abundant in the extremely rare Helium-3 – currently valued at around $90,000 per ounce.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) may have made the most overt moves toward space mining so far, with plans to hit a passing asteroid with an exploration probe in 2018.
The probe will fire a projectile into the asteroid to blast some material before gathering it up for its return to Earth.
China also has launched a rocket to the moon, depositing a vehicle to survey the lunar natural resources.