doi: 10.5195/tlp.2014.140

Mining the Final Frontier: Keeping Earth's Asteroid Mining Ventures from Becoming the Next Gold Rush

Matthew Feinman

Abstract


“Space: The Final Frontier.”  While that phrase has been a call to arms for generations of science fiction fans and space enthusiasts to look up at the night sky in wonder and amazement, it has increasingly become a siren call for private space pioneers. Since man first went to space, humankind has been pushing the boundaries of experimentation, research, and exploration into the cosmos. Even though Earth’s supply of certain rare and precious metals may be reaching depletion, researchers have found that asteroids are likely to contain vast quantities of these resources.  Today, several companies are attempting to tap into this potential wealth of resources for use, both on Earth and in space.  Before these companies can begin mining, however, stronger property laws are needed to ensure the Asteroid Belt of our solar system is not described as the next California Gold Rush.  This Article argues that the international community must be united on the policies and customs surrounding property ownership in space so these mining operations can be performed in a peaceful and safe manner.


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