The asteroids that pass us by on a regular basis might not seem particularly valuable, but inside many of these spacefaring rocks there lies a fortune in gold, platinum and other minerals that could actually make space mining an extremely viable commercial venture.
The Moon and Mars, too, are known to contain significant natural resources that could prove invaluable to the first settlers building permanant manned outposts on these worlds.
Now in a new bid to support the mining of these resources, President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order establishing official US policy with regard to the acquisition of materials off-world.
“Supportive policy regarding the recovery and use of space resources is important to the creation of a stable and predictable investment environment for commercial space innovators and entrepreneurs, and it is vital to the long-term sustainability of human exploration and development of the Moon, Mars, and other destinations,” the executive order reads.
“Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and the United States does not view space as a global commons.”
Russia meanwhile has condemned the move, claiming that “attempts to expropriate outer space and aggressive plans to actually take over other planets” deter international cooperation.
“There have already been examples in history when one country decided to start seizing territories in its own interests and everyone remembers how that turned out,” said Roscosmos’ Sergei Savelyev.