(AFP) Luxembourg will shortly draw up legislation to facilitate its ground-breaking new diversification – mining asteroids.
Extracting precious metals, rare minerals and othervaluable commodities on passing asteroids is a staple of sciencefiction, but Luxembourg says incentives are urgently needed to turn this dream into fact.
“Comprehensive legislation” will be drawn up with the help of space law experts, the economy ministry said in a statement.
Expected to take effect in 2017, the law is billed as providing alegal framework that will spur investment in exploiting resources inNear Earth Objects (NEOs) — the scientific term for asteroids as wellas comets.
“(It) will guarantee operators the right to resourcesharvested in outer space in accordance with international law,” theministry said.
“Space resources-dedicated licences will be issued underthe new law, and government supervision of the activities of operatorsand regulating their rights and obligations will be ensured by Luxembourg in accordance with the Outer Space Treaty.”
Law to create pro-business environment
The proposed law aims at offering a more pro-businessenvironment compared to legislation passed in the United States in 2015.
Unlike the US, Luxembourg law onasteroid mining will extend not only to local companies but also toforeign corporations which are established in the duchy.
The law will only be at national level, but Luxembourgintends at the same time to promote a legal regulatory frameworkinternationally, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was quoted as saying.
The government announced a funding incentive of 200 millioneuros to encourage research and development in asteroidmining.
Two US companies have already established “legal entities” in Luxembourg, the ministry said.
They are Deep Space Industries, which is working on aconcept of a future spacecraft for asteroid mining, and PlanetaryResources, a startup co-financed by Google pioneer Larry Page, which iskeen on developing exploration satellites.
New mining scheme to target NEOs
Asteroids are primeval rubble left from the building of the Solar System some four billion years ago.
The main asteroid belt lies very far from Earth, between Mars and Jupiter.
However, many asteroids are bumped out of the belt, and some of these veer close to Earth in their orbit around the Sun.
These so-called NEOs would thus the target for mining shipsthat — theoretically — would land on the asteroid, extract rawmaterial and maybe even process it.
So-called Type C asteroids have drawn the most interest, asthey are believed to have a high content of water, carbon, sulphur,nitrogen, phosphorus and ferrous metals.
The mining is likely to be carried out by robots rather than humans, given the high risks and costs of manned space missions.
However, asteroids could also be a stepping stone forplanetary exploration, some hope. Manned spaceships would land there torefuel and stock up on water, according to this vision.
SUBJECT: LEGISLATION (91%); ASTRONOMY & SPACE (90%); MINING REGULATION & POLICY (90%); SPACE LAW (90%); MINES & MINING (89%); PLANETS & ASTEROIDS (89%); SPACECRAFT (88%); PROSPECTING & EXPLORATION (78%); AEROSPACE REGULATION & POLICY (78%); SPACE EXPLORATION (78%); RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT (77%); INTERNATIONAL LAW (76%); BUSINESS CLIMATE & CONDITIONS (72%); PRIME MINISTERS (68%); HEADS OF STATE & GOVERNMENT (68%); TREATIES & AGREEMENTS (53%)
COMPANY: GOOGLE INC (53%)
TICKER: GOOG (NASDAQ) (53%)
INDUSTRY: NAICS519130 INTERNET PUBLISHING & BROADCASTING & WEB SEARCH PORTALS (53%)
PERSON: LARRY PAGE (50%)
STATE: EARTH (92%); MARS (79%); JUPITER (79%)
COUNTRY: LUXEMBOURG (94%); UNITED STATES (92%)
LOAD-DATE: June 4, 2016
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