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Government Space Science

The Great Meteor Grab 152

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 timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @05:35PM (#41636311)
    Poorly-funded space asteroid miners? Like a miner 49'er with a rented mule and a pickaxe, right? But in space?

    As usual there is nothing here beyond an angst-ridden blog post about how some law might someday be (mis) applied. (Next up: Will Shariah Law take over the UN!??? Oops, we already did that one today.)

    I am more interested in how this applied in the case of large meteors that leave large deposits of valuable minerals in the earth's crust []. These are not little objects you can walk away with, but rather, large areas rich in minerals due to (usually) prehistoric impacts that are already productively mined []. It seems less of a stretch that somebody would abuse this meteor law to exploit public lands by showing the minerals there were "originally" from an asteroid, since the minerals can be extracted at a profit (sans sci-fi).

  • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @10:56PM (#41638953)
    Lately Congress seems to recognize no limits to its jurisdiction. If they can extradite people for violating US drug laws in other countries, extradite British bankers who never set foot in the US for violating US banking laws, arrest Canadians for running poker websites, and tax expats for ten years after citizenship is renounced, there really isn't any place in the universe in which US law doesn't apply. Assuming they have the muscle to enforce it, I guess. As an American I have no idea why other countries put up with this nonsense, but there it is.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court