Imagine riding through space on your trusty scooter and, feeling the urge to lasso an asteroid, reaching out and doing just that. It is a top-notch, boyhood sci-fi fantasy. If the scooter were pink I would ride it, too.
Does Asteroid Mining Violate Space Law?
Natalie Wolchover, Life's Little Mysteries Staff Writer
Date: 24 April 2012 Time: 02:05 PM ET
|Planetary Resources plans to build swarms of low-cost
robotic spacecraft to extract resources from near-Earth asteroids.
CREDIT: Planetary Resources
But to whom do those trillions belong — the company, or everyone? Does a private company have a right to stake claim to an asteroid, or are celestial bodies such as the moon, planets and asteroids the communal property of all Earthlings?
"The law on this is not settled and not clear," said Henry Hertzfeld, professor of space policy and international affairs at George Washington University. "There are lots of opinions on the status here, and nobody is necessarily right because it's complicated."
Asteroids may yield precious metals, cosmic riches.
Jones, an adviser to a bold venture that aims to extract gold, platinum and rocket fuel from the barren space rocks, said many near-Earth asteroids have a loose rocky surface held together only weakly by gravity.
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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