November 29, 2015

"An event of cosmic proportions occurred on 18 November when the US congress passed the Space Act of 2015 into law."

Science Alert The legislation will give US space firms the rights to own and sell natural resources they mine from bodies in space, including asteroids. by GBENGA ODUNTAN via The Conversation

'The act represents a full-frontal attack on settled principles of space law which are based on two basic principles: the right of states to scientific exploration of outer space and its celestial bodies and the prevention of unilateral and unbridled commercial exploitation of outer-space resources. These principles are found in agreements including the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the Moon Agreement of 1979.

'The US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology denies there is anything in the act which violates the US’s international obligations. According to this body, the right to extract and use resources from celestial bodies "is affirmed by State practice and by the US State Department in Congressional testimony and written correspondence".

'Crucially, there is no specific reference to international law in this statement. Simply relying on US legislation and policy statements to justify the plans is obviously insufficient.'

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