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Government Space Science

The Great Meteor Grab 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-may-not-own-rocks-in-space dept.
RocketAcademy writes "New regulations by the Federal government define asteroidal material to be an antiquity, like arrowheads and pottery, rather than a mineral — and, therefore, not subject to U.S. mining law or eligible for mining claims. At the moment, these regulations only apply to asteroidal materials that have fallen to Earth as meteorites. However, they create a precedent that could adversely affect the plans of companies such as Planetary Resources, who intend to mine asteroids in space."
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The Great Meteor Grab

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  • by Xylaan (795464) on Friday October 12, 2012 @04:35PM (#41636309)
    From the article, however, the regulations that are being discussed are for meteorites on federal lands. From the article:

    Courts have long established that meteorites belong to the owner of the surface estate. Therefore, meteorites found on public lands are part of the BLM’s surface estate, belong to the federal government, and must be managed as natural resources in accordance with the FLPMA of 1976."

    In this case, I'm thinking that claiming that these changes will somehow apply to asteroids in space is a very long stretch. Especially since they don't apply to the significant volume of privately owned land in this country, let alone the rest of the world.

  • by slew (2918) on Friday October 12, 2012 @05:42PM (#41637233)

    No, but when the US starts planting flags on more heavenly bodies, they may be able to define them as "Federal Land", subject to BLM regulation.

    Not likely, the US is a signator to the Outer Space Treaty [wikipedia.org]...

    Article II
    Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.

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