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Legislation seeks to promote use of asteroid resources July 10, 2014

Posted by Al Philipson in Science and Science Fiction news.
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From Space Politics
By Jeff Foust on 2014 July 10 at 6:52 pm ET

A bill introduced Thursday by two members of the House Science Committee seeks to promote commercial asteroid ventures, including securing property rights for resources extracted from asteroids by American companies.

The American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act of 2014, HR 5063, was introduced Thursday by Reps. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA), members of the House Science Committee. The relatively short bill (about four and a half pages in the copy provided by Posey’s office late Thursday, since the bill is not yet posted on Congress.gov) would direct the president, through the FAA and other agencies, to “facilitate the commercial exploration and utilization of asteroid resources to meet national needs,” “discourage government barriers” to asteroid resources ventures, and promote the right of American companies involved in those activities to both explore and utilize asteroids as well as transfer and sell them.

Perhaps most importantly, the bill provides property rights to resources extracted by those companies: “Any resources obtained in outer space from an asteroid are the property of the entity that obtained such resources, which shall be entitled to all property rights thereto, consistent with applicable provisions of Federal law.” The bill does not extend those property rights beyond the resources a company extracted, such as a claim of property on the asteroid, or of an asteroid itself. The bill also provides for freedom from harmful interference, noting that “any assertion of superior right to execute specific commercial asteroid resource utilization activities in outer space shall prevail if it is found to be first in time,” at least among companies subject to US law.

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