According to the BBC, private companies like Planetary Resources want to turn asteroids into filling stations for spaceships. Asteroids could provide water and oxygen for crews as well as hydrogen for fuel. While the idea makes sense — currently a spacecraft has to carry everything it needs from the start — it may meet stiff international opposition.
Unfortunately, strict legislation in the form of the 1966 United Nations' Outer Space Treaty already prohibits national appropriation of space resources. Basically, mining the moon is legally off limits.
But, experts say mining asteroids - particularly for resources which could remain in space - falls into a legal grey area unconceived of by legislators four decades ago.
As the commercial space industry grows, with billions of dollars already invested, entrepreneurs argue they should be able to own what they find. The costs are simply too great to risk having their discoveries taken from them by governments or competitors.
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|“This is a really cool concept, but it’s not clear whether it will make its way off the drawing board.”|
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|“We could set up a small lunar base for $10 billion or less, and we could do it by 2022.”|
|“That science fiction future where robots can do what people and animals do may be closer than you think.”|
|“Human and animal cells can be 3D printed into high-resolution tissue.”|
|“This conversation about how technology is hijacking people is really catching on.”|
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|“Nobody is forcing the participants to stay, of course, but if they leave, they won’t be paid.”|
|“Eliminating the time needed to stop and re-charge a conventional electric car’s battery.”|
|“Our Internet handlers, not government, are using operant conditioning to modify our behaviour today.”|
|“We’re going to start to see chip implants get the same realm of acceptance as piercings and tattoos.”|
|“During this phase of decline, the US was likely to go through a phase of reactionary 'fascism'.”|
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|“The shift from fuel and pistons to batteries and electric motors is unlikely to take that long.”|
|“This 160-step biochemical process is very well studied, and surprisingly inefficient.”|