Commercial space exploration
This week the U.S. Congress passed a bill that could significantly change the space exploration in the future, actually transforming the Solar system into one vast field for competition.
Congress passed the Act on the competitiveness of commercial space programs unanimously. The bill gives private companies seeking to develop space expansion, the number of rights, including the right of all American citizens to own those “space resources” that they can get.
Congress defines “space” as “abiotic resource found directly in the outer space”. In other words, everything you can find there, if it is inanimate. On alien microbes right of ownership does not apply, but everything else that any company in the future will be able to mine on an asteroid or planetary body, will belong to the company, including rare earth elements, precious metals and even water.
In addition, the bill facilitates the issue of space tourism, extending the “learning period” and thus, freeing the private space company from certain restrictions of the Federal air transport Agency. Also, this bill actually provides that future space tourists are exempt from the protection of the state when entering aboard a private spacecraft and its territorialistic at your own risk. The new Act extends existing programs of indemnification in private space companies until 2020 and confirms that the ICC “remains a viable and productive station”, and the US will continue its active use and funding until at least September 30, 2024.
Of course, such a bill to the delight came not from the newspaper “the guardian” and not directly recalled signed in 1967 the outer space Treaty, according to which any celestial body cannot be assigned by a state through occupation or by any other method. In this case the bill has a special statement that this bill “the United States does not assert his power or exclusive rights or jurisdiction or ownership over any celestial body”.