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Analysis posted Apr 26 2012, 7:39 AM Category: Economy Source: InformationLiberation Print

Socialists Seek To Prevent Humanity From Colonizing Space

Chris | InformationLiberation

Humanity will not be allowed to colonize outer space if socialist professors are allowed to have their way.

Does Asteroid Mining Violate Space Law?

Several well-known billionaires are forming the new company Planetary Resources with plans to send a robotic spacecraft to mine precious metals from an asteroid and bring them back to Earth. Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt and their business partners say the enterprise will "add trillions to the global GDP."

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."

[...]Frank Lyall, public law professor at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and director of the International Institute of Space Law, and Paul Larsen, a space law expert and adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School, both interpret the OST as meaning that no one -- neither a government, nor a person -- can claim title to an asteroid, or the precious metals therein.

The point is proven by a 2001 court case, they said. In 2000, an American man named Gregory Nemitz registered a claim to the asteroid Eros. When NASA sent a satellite to investigate this asteroid soon after, Nemitz sent a letter to NASA telling the space agency to pay parking fees for landing the satellite on his property. "NASA declined and so did the U.S. Dept. of State," Larsen explained in an email. "The reason is that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, Article II, specifically states 'outer space ... is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereign, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.'" [Images: Planetary Resources to Mine Asteroid Riches]

Thus, as the international law on the matter now stands, "an asteroid in outer space cannot be mined for the purpose of appropriation," Lyall wrote. "All the states whose nationals might mine are part of the 1967 [Outer Space] Treaty agreement and hence their national systems cannot provide the base of a title to the property."
Well then, if the law says it, then it must be so!

Fortunately, not everyone agrees.

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Comments 1 - 2 of 2 Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: Apr 26 2012, 1:10 PM

70178 it's really really stupid to use the word socialists here
Joe Hardy

Posted: Apr 27 2012, 10:39 AM

7156 The idea does seem socialist- well, maybe not socialist since there's no government ownership- there's NO ownership, so I'm not sure what to call it. But certainly not capitalist. I don't think it's the professors' fault, however- over 100 countries agreed to this amazingly socialist (or whatever the correct term is) treaty- even the U.S.!

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