Can You Stake A Claim To An Asteroid?

Planetary Resources. which announced its ambitious plan to search for, and then start mining, a suitable asteroid (see Arkyd Spacecraft To Hunt Asteroid Platinum, Water), may have run into a legal snag.

Can a private company stake a claim to an asteroid, and then mine it?


(Eros - 22 miles long, $trillions of dollars?)

"We as a U.S. company certainly have the right to go an asteroid and make use of its resources," Planetary Resources co-founder Eric Anderson told Discovery News.

"It is a stated goal of the U.S. government to enable and promote commercial activities and economic activity in space," he said.

However, article 2 of the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty states that "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."

Bigelow Aerospace attorney Michael Gold states:

"The UN treaty in essence forbids private ownership of celestial property. According to the treaty, you could not arrive on the moon or an asteroid and claim it for ownership, at least as a country. Things get a little more confusing when you talk about ownership by a company, but I think most lawyers would tell you that they are one in the same and that whether it's a corporation or a nation you cannot, according to the treaty, claim private celestial property,"

And here I thought that science fiction writers settled this whole issue generations ago. In his excellent 1941 story Jurisdiction, Nat Schachner clearly described the process of staking a claim to an asteroid:

The law of filing on newly discovered asteroids was definite. Two steps were required. First, setting up the proper monuments on the asteroid. Second, filing the requisite affidavits in the Claims Office of Jurisdiction. Four metal stakes were driven deep into the stone... Then a photograving of claim to title was etched deep within the area bounded by the stakes. (Read more about asteroid claim law)

See also this highly relevant article on Moon Mining And Space Lawyers.

Via Discovery.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/28/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Subsurface Martian Ice Slabs Piece Of Cake For Miners
'One shy little fellow with bloodshot eyes of old-time drillman stood up. 'I'm an ice miner,' he said.' - Robert Heinlein, 1966.

I Want Massive Space Freighters!
Ah, the space freighters of old.

Our World Formed In A Bubble?
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...' - Philip K. Dick, 1953.

Will You Live To See EM Pulse Scattering By Ships Nearing Light Speed?
'...half a million kilometers away, the Stardrive went on.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1953.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'

Subsurface Martian Ice Slabs Piece Of Cake For Miners
'One shy little fellow with bloodshot eyes of old-time drillman stood up. 'I'm an ice miner,' he said.'

LG Rollable Version Of Niven's Poster TV
'A television that unrolled like a poster.'

Multi-Robot Farming On Highly Sloped Land
High Plains, indeed.

Aeolus Robot Brings Jetson's Rosie Closer
Domestic duties, robotically performed.

Sony's New, Cuter Aibo Robot Puppy
Engineered to be adorable.

Earth-1 Transformer Gundam Car
Is it a Gundam? Or maybe a Transformer.

Self-Driving Domino's Pizza Car
Yes, but can it negotiate entry at your Burbclave?

I Want Massive Space Freighters!
Ah, the space freighters of old.

When Will The Feds Ban Human Drivers?
'The first laws came out forcing the old machines off the highways...'

Our World Formed In A Bubble?
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...'

Will You Live To See EM Pulse Scattering By Ships Nearing Light Speed?
'...half a million kilometers away, the Stardrive went on.'

Jabil Integrated Textile Heart Monitoring
'Della's first present was an imipolex sweatshirt called a heartshirt…'

Made In Space To Manufacture Optical Fiber In Orbit
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.

Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.