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Asteroid Mining Bill Introduced In Congress To Protect Private Property Rights

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the you-can't-take-the-sky-from-me dept.

Space 181

MarkWhittington writes: "Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) announced on Thursday that he was introducing a bill along with Rep, Derek Kilmer (D-WA) called the American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act of 2014 (PDF). The act is designed to protect the private property rights for entities mining asteroids and to otherwise encourage asteroid mining. The bill is in apparent reaction to efforts by companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries to locate and mine Earth approaching asteroids for their resources.

The crucial part of the short piece of legislation states that the resources mined from an asteroid would be the property of the entity undertaking the operation. This language gets around the provision of the Outer Space Treaty that says states are forbidden to establish national sovereignty over celestial bodies, which would be a prerequisite to the United States allowing a private entity to own an asteroid. It rather grants mineral rights to the asteroid, something the treaty does not mention. There is no enforcement mechanism in the event of a dispute with another country, however."

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Did the forget the part (0)

fredrated (639554) | about 4 months ago | (#47430439)

where they won't have to pay any taxes?

Re:Did the forget the part (0, Troll)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#47430459)

and where they can own the moon make people living there pay fees / dues and if you don't pay they kick out with no ride home (that is a fee as well) and by kick you better have your own space suit and if you die it's not murder

Re:Did the forget the part (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430479)

Your writing skill sucks balls. Was your mother a whore addicted to crack cocaine?

Re:Did the forget the part (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#47430487)

The really surprising part is he actually got all the apostrophes right. Screwed up basic grammer, but did the fiddly bit fine.

Re:Did the forget the part (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430649)

The really, really surprising part is that you got the basic grammar correct but the spelling wrong.

Re:Did the forget the part (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#47431351)

Especially as I was using a spellchecker. Must have overlooked the squiggly red line as I was more focused on making sure I got 'apostrophes' right.

Not exactly (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 4 months ago | (#47431715)

There is no enforcement mechanism in the event of a dispute with another country, however.

Sure there is. Radar-guided missiles. Etc.

Re:Did the forget the part (2)

cygnwolf (601176) | about 4 months ago | (#47430643)

Seems to me they would have to pay import tarrifs to bring the resources back planetside....

Re:Did the forget the part (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47430817)

If they count as a foreign nation. Since "no one country" owns space according so some treaty or another(okay, I admit, my memory is fuzzy on this), they might not.

But they will pay taxes on the income/profits. And there's no economic system that doesn't value the availability of new raw materials as a primary interest.

Re:Did the forget the part (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431137)

Not to mention indemnity should their 'stake' slam into the Pacific and wash away Hawaii or something.

Re:Did the forget the part (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47431173)

where they won't have to pay any taxes?

As well they shouldn't. No emerging technology should. Once it replaces all earth based mining and the industry is worth billions, you can rest assured that they'll get taxed up to wazoo.

ASTEROIDS (3, Funny)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 4 months ago | (#47430453)

That acronym is so massive we'll need Roland Emmerich to make a movie about it hitting the Senate floor.

Re:ASTEROIDS (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 4 months ago | (#47430717)

I'm pretty sure the impact would effect the entire DC area if not the world. I'm not sure if that's a bad thing however.

Re:ASTEROIDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431675)

"Hello, congress! I'm Asteroid-mining Bill!! I'm here today to tell you about how I'm going to protect everybody's private property rights."

Absurd (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430471)

How can any nation grant right over something outside its sovereignty?

Re:Absurd (1)

Tangential (266113) | about 4 months ago | (#47430475)

How can any nation grant right over something outside its sovereignty?

Indeed! It seems to presume a lot. Perhaps this just regulates the behavior of US companies mining asteroids.

Re:Absurd (4, Informative)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 months ago | (#47430493)

How can any nation grant right over something outside its sovereignty?

You do know what country you are talking about don't you? sovereignty (especially other peoples) hasn't generally been at the top of the list of discussion points for quite a while(*)

* And by quite a while I mean it .. just look at how Hawai'i became a state.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430841)

How can any nation grant right over something outside its sovereignty?

* And by quite a while I mean it .. just look at how Hawai'i became a state.

You mean having the citizens of said island vote for it to become part of the nation, and said citizens voting favorably?

Re:Absurd (0)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 4 months ago | (#47430885)

Which citizens of America? Because there were no citizens, just colonists with no sovereign rights to America. See the point.

Re:Absurd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430991)

He wrote "citizens of said island" not what you wrote. Basically, the people of Hawaii voted to become a state. Puerto Rico just voted on whether to apply for statehood, I guess to you that's just more America not respecting other nations too.

Re: Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431209)

Foreign nationals have no rights under the US Constitution

where'd the &##^(@ tags go?!!! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 4 months ago | (#47430511)

If anything deserves a spacenuttery tag, this does!

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430773)

How can any nation grant right over something outside its sovereignty?

They have a flag. If you can put a flag on it, it's yours. You can do the same thing with cup cakes, but just use a very small flag. A standard sized flag will smash the cup cake. Also, make sure it's your flag. Putting someone else's flag on there makes it an "own goal" kind of thing.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430965)

Because the nation in question is the only true nation all other 'nations' are just unruly provinces.

Re:Absurd (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47431063)

Strong Navy

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431121)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Bout

Re:Absurd (3, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about 4 months ago | (#47431617)

same way they always have.
first by force.
then by tradition.
otherwise known as "possession is 9/10's of the law".

the only reason we haven't (yet) seen it in Antarctica and the treaty there has yet been observed and maintained, is there hasnt yet been a big push to produce or obtain resources down there (it's bloody cold, and the resources are under a very thick layer of ice). just wait til they decide it's time to get the oil or other BigMoneyItem out of the gruond down there, and then see how long that treaty lasts.

Re:Absurd (4, Insightful)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 4 months ago | (#47431707)

How can any nation grant right over something outside its sovereignty?

This just codifies a long-standing common law treatment of international resources. Anyone from any country can take their ship into international waters and gather resources. Once the fish / kelp / crab / whatever is aboard the ship, it's their property. This just says we should treat space resources the same way.

thank goodness (5, Funny)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 4 months ago | (#47430473)

i was afraid that privateers were running out of things to rape here on earth

Re:thank goodness (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430617)

And don't worry about no enforcement mechanism if another country disagrees...we can simply go to war with them to protect the "rights" of some corporation going against the good example the US set on the moon. Bravo!

I for one, look forward to saying how bravely my children fought and died to protect the rights of some corporation to profit by mining some asteroid's natural resoruces. Be the first on your block to have a kid killed to fight for some corporate interest in space!

Re:thank goodness (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#47430791)

Hey, we already send our children off to die to corporate interests in the Middle East, why not space? Hell, aside from the possible exception of WWI/II has this nation *ever* fought a war that wasn't well-aligned with powerful business interests?

Re:thank goodness (1)

Jahta (1141213) | about 4 months ago | (#47430785)

i was afraid that privateers were running out of things to rape here on earth

Yeah. It's not exactly "boldly going where no man has gone before", is it?

Re:thank goodness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431099)

i was afraid that privateers were running out of things to rape here on earth

. . . as you fully utilize the raped things to post your hypocritical comment and live your hypocritical life.

I was afraid a liberal would make any sort of logical sense on Slashdot . . .

Dispute procedure. (5, Funny)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#47430499)

In event of dispute, deliver minerals to other claimant. Without controlled deceleration.

Good. Let's go. (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47430505)

Asteroid mining is the only way we're going to build large structures in space anytime "soon". There's plenty of asteroids, this issue can be revisited later.

Re:Good. Let's go. (1)

Willuz (1246698) | about 4 months ago | (#47431549)

Your response is entirely lacking in knee-jerk paranoid delusions and as such does not belong here.

It's obvious to everyone else on the interwebz that an evil big corporation that spends billions mining an asteroid and creating an orbital station from the materials should not be allowed to own that station because it's made up of celestial bodies that can't be owned.

Just be sure you don't eat the space corn when you take your space vacation to space Disney. The corn was grown on an asteroid so Asteroid = Corn. You ate the corn and it became part of you so Corn = You. According the the transitive property of an equality You = Corn = Asteroid so you can no longer claim ownership your own body which will be put to work serving space corndogs at space Disney.

Re:Good. Let's go. (1)

smaddox (928261) | about 4 months ago | (#47431629)

I'll believe that when I see a process for refining the raw materials in orbit and producing something usable out of them. As is, asteroid mining endeavors are nothing short of magical thinking.

Found where to put all those children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430513)

Finally the Congress has congressed.

Define 'Celestial Body'... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430531)

FIrstly, an advance "Haha, very funny!" to all of you out there with celestial body related sex/porn jokes you feel compelled to share with the rest of us. Now back to topic, when you travel to a celestial body and detach a piece of it does that piece cease to be a celestial body and become a .... uuuuh... celestial fragment or something? The Outer Space treaty must define a minimum size for a 'celestial body' because otherwise even grains of cosmic dust are 'celestial bodies'. At least that is the only way, that my non legal mind can conceive of, that this law gets around the outer space treaty.

Sure there is (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | about 4 months ago | (#47430545)

There is no enforcement mechanism in the event of a dispute with another country, however.

Any company rich enough to get there can probably afford to hire people to defend its claim. Within a few years, they'll probably be rich enough to outright buy a company like Blackwater to serve as a small army to defend their claim if need be. That's the real danger here.

Re:Sure there is (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47430657)

It depends. In space, the eternal truth that a bullet tends to beat the armor will probably apply more than usual. Cue a mass driver or an electrically powered kinetic projectile.

Re:Sure there is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430881)

also, note that in space, there is no such thing as a surprise attack. you would see a mass driver round coming weeks if not months in advance of impact. If it is a small asteroid, you change your orbit so the mass driver slug won't impact (which is just a few meters deltaV, as hitting anything is space smaller then a moon is fiendishly hard). If it is a missile, an antimissile laser battery can be used to damage the missile's warhead and make it fizzle. Also, what good would a mass driver round do if the ship stays to mine for a week, fills it's barges full of material to send back home, and GTFOs before the slug is even half way there? all you accomplished then is screwing up the asteroid's orbit and creating a debris belt around it.

barring warp drive or some sort of perfect stealth system, war in space will be mostly a staring match

Re:Sure there is (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47431245)

barring warp drive or some sort of perfect stealth system, war in space will be mostly a staring match

War in space will be mostly robotic.

Re: Sure there is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431339)

Just like here and now: the killing is done by remote-controlled machines, the dying is done by people who were unfortunate enough not to be born in the "guh-ratest nashun on Earth", MURIKA!

Re:Sure there is (2)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 4 months ago | (#47430727)

But it's nice if they don't have to, that there is at least some kind of rule saying "no, it's not cool to just take the shit somebody else already captured and mined." The rule may or may not be enforceable, but I think it's a good, common sense rule.

Re:Sure there is (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#47430745)

Why? Mining asteroids is incredibly unprofitable.

Re:Sure there is (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430777)

It may be already profitable in near future if the point of the stuff is to stay in space. Once we start needing large amounts of structural materials beyond Earth's gravity well, lifting them from Earth is not going to be cheap.

Sure there is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430811)

Space combat is different. It is much easier to destroy something in space than protecting it, and you certainly don't want any humans involved.

Space Cadets (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 4 months ago | (#47430833)

I for one would like to be the first of these space mercenaries!

Even now I am thinking up cool sounding names to call ourselves... :)

Re:Space Cadets (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 4 months ago | (#47431451)

Speece Mahrines?

Re:Sure there is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431323)

Perhaps the UN could authorize a private party to manage and execute the conflict resolution and permissions. Lets call it The Corporation and divide it to executive and legal branches, in a form of private courts, settlement process and thousands of nuclear war heads.

Sovereignty is still a prerequisite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430549)

You can't grant mineral rights without assuming ownership of whatever you're granting the rights on.

Sovereignty is still a prerequisite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430697)

Yes you can. Obama slogan. The bill does exactly that. It grants mineral rights without ownership of the asteroid itself. The only time when the law will be tested is when someone else will try to mine the same asteroid. The bill protects companies that funded the mining from legal challenges questioning their right to sell mined minerals. This is different than owning the asteroid itself.

Re:Sovereignty is still a prerequisite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431267)

I'm thinking of the Spanish and Portuguese shipping gold and silver from South America back to Europe. Cortez didn't claim "ownership" so much as "might-makes-right".

Re:Sovereignty is still a prerequisite (2)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about 4 months ago | (#47431607)

You can't grant mineral rights without assuming ownership of whatever you're granting the rights on.

"Can't?" Ok, I'll bite: what happens when you try? (Did you get an error message? What did it say?)

As if that matters (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430567)

Space baby!

You can't keep the space pirates down!

Piracy hooooooo!

Doesn't change much (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430569)

This law merely codifies what has already developed as the consensus among significant space-faring nations.

Since the world already accepts the premise that objects originating in outer space and brought to earth belong to those who retrieved them them (currently only Gov't agencies, but foreseeably private actors as well), and Article IX of the OST establishes a right to non-interference with outer space activities (outside of explicitly banned activities such as militarization, etc.), the lack of sovereignty or property rights over celestial bodies already presents no legal bar to their mineral exploitation.

Of course, the flip side of this is that someone else could completely legally set up a mining operation on the other side of the asteroid, and provided they are not interfering with your own operations, there is really nothing you could do to enforce a "claim" in the sense that we do here on earth.

As I read it, this introduced bill does nothing to change existing rights and duties under the current legal framework, but I suppose it does provide some assurance to prospective miners that, in the U.S. legal system at least, there will be no drastic changes to the current understanding.

IANAL (yet) but have interned at NASA.

Re:Doesn't change much (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 4 months ago | (#47431171)

Let's get crazy for a moment: one of the ideas of space mining is that it lets you get resources for space projects without the difficulty of firing them up from the Earth in the first place. So in principle, you could produce hardware in space from raw products that have never had any owner, using tools that were themselves manufactured in space from materials that have no owner. Does that mean that said hardware is "up for grabs" in perpetuity with no legally recognised owner, until some smartass brings it back to Earth (defeating the whole point of building it in the first place) and claims it as scrap?

Re:Doesn't change much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431291)

in soviet space asteroid mines you!!!!!

Wait, what? (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47430577)

This language gets around the provision of the Outer Space Treaty that says states are forbidden to establish national sovereignty over celestial bodies, which would be a prerequisite to the United States allowing a private entity to own an asteroid. It rather grants mineral rights to the asteroid, something the treaty does not mention.

So, if you as a country don't have the right to claim sovereignty over these celestial bodies ... then how on Earth (or space) do you have the authority to grant mineral rights? They're not your rights to give are they?

This is using authority you don't have to grant mineral rights to corporations. Can the US grant mineral rights to nations they don't control too? Because that's awfully special.

This just sounds like the typical ignore the intent of the treaty and make sure corporations have more avenues to make money without restriction.

Always nice when lawmakers pass laws over stuff they really have no jurisdiction.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430589)

My thoughts exactly, and you beat to posting by minutes.

David

Re:Wait, what? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430641)

Because the proposed bill does no such thing. It merely states that the U.S. gov't will recognize extracted minerals as being the property of those who extracted them. Nothing in it stops others from mining the same asteroid as long as it refrains from harmful interference with other operations.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430693)

Also, to followup on what I just wrote, the OST and subsequent treaties are absolutely silent with respect to the commecial/mineral exploitation of space resources. Contrast this with teh Antarctic Treaty (the most obviously analagous "terrestrial" treaty), which in addition to declaring Antarctica as free from claims of sovereignty (aside from preeisting research stations), but also specifically sets aside the Continent as a scientific research zone.

There is absolutely no evidence that the framers of these agreements ever intended their instruments to prevent resource exploitation in space.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47431119)

It merely states that the U.S. gov't will recognize extracted minerals as being the property of those who extracted them.

The key, exactly. You own what you create, nothing more. And a performance is only a performance when you perform. (That was a preemptive Shh!...)

Re:Wait, what? (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#47430733)

Well, yes and no. I do not think the intent of the treaty was to make all resource gathering outside of earth atmosphere illegal. The intent was to not allow nations to claim the land and in particular install military outposts. And depending on the wording it might actually be completely within the treaty. The US cannot sign over mineral rights to land they do not own, but a simple statement of intent that they will consider it yours if you take the out of this land that no one owns seems to be within the treaty.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

MrTester (860336) | about 4 months ago | (#47430799)

This is just how things work.
Its a chicken and egg thing. It will never be a priority for the international community to establish policies until pushed by something like this.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

ZenMonk (1967080) | about 4 months ago | (#47431821)

The rights granted by the act would be effective only between US companies, which the lawmakers do have jurisdiction over. So two different US companies go to the same asteroid, whoever gets there first gets extraction rights. Any non-US entity goes to that asteroid later, they can do what they want regardless of this law. When that starts becoming an issue then we'll see work start on a treaty (or amendment to OST) to govern this sort of thing internationally.

This bill is the first word in the process, not the last. You have to start somewhere.

J. Paul Getty Maxim (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 4 months ago | (#47430583)

The J. Paul Getty Maxim, oft repeated in the Oil Patch where I live, is "The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights".

It appears this concept applies to other celestial bodies as well.

Re:J. Paul Getty Maxim (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 4 months ago | (#47431819)

"All things come to those who wait" -- however, they're the set of all things left around by those who got there first.

The only space law we really need: If you see a lawyer, SHOOT TO KILL.

Jurisdiction (3, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#47430609)

Neither the US Congress, nor the United Nations, have any jurisdiction over anything outside LEO (Low Earth Orbit)

Re:Jurisdiction (1)

internerdj (1319281) | about 4 months ago | (#47430877)

It would be nice if we were a bit progressive and as a planet got ahead of the clear human abuses that typically come with our historic examples of frontiers.

Re:Jurisdiction (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#47431021)

Read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy for why this won't ever happen.

Re:Jurisdiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430973)

The US Congress has some jurisdiction over american citizens regardless of where they are at in the universe. This bill says that americans who mine stuff in space and bring it back to earth are protected in American courts.

Citation needed. (2)

westlake (615356) | about 4 months ago | (#47431801)

Neither the US Congress, nor the United Nations, have any jurisdiction over anything outside LEO (Low Earth Orbit)

You have de-facto jurisdiction wherever you have the power to assert it.

The American Revolution was about 150 years in the making --- population in 1776, around two million, any disruption in foreign trade wounding, but not fatal. Coastal cities vulnerable, but any penetration into the interior likely to end in disaster. (Saratoga)

The out-world colony for the foreseeable future will be and must be self-sustaining in the sense that it is in no immediate danger of running out of food or air. But it will be small and fragile --- in no position to cut its ties with the earth.

There is no enforcement mechanism in the event of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430667)

The enforcement mechanism is threat of violence form the opposing corporate interest or war in the event the resource proves to be a national priority.

LOL ... muppets (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47430669)

"time for...Capitalist...Piiiiiigs...iiiin...spaaaaaaace!"

Just sayin'.

And what if they crash said asteroid into earth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430681)

Who is going to pay for that devastation? I don't think I want some large rock floating above my head just so some company can make money.

Re:And what if they crash said asteroid into earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430851)

some large rock floating above my head

Hmmm... do a handstand. Report your results.

Re:And what if they crash said asteroid into earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430933)

Its not over your head its marginally further down the gravity well , Unless you live in Australia.

Having solved all other earthly problems... (1, Insightful)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about 4 months ago | (#47430689)

Words fail me. Almost. I realize that Congress needs to do appear to be doing something, while avoiding all possible controversy, but this seems like a press release that should never have gone out. Perhaps if they concerned themselves less with asteroid mining and more with the immigration issue, pollution, healthcare, and any number of more important issues, Americans might have a smidgin more respect for their elected officials. This seems like an issue that could wait...or maybe they could let the interns handle it.

Re:Having solved all other earthly problems... (1)

ai4px (1244212) | about 4 months ago | (#47430793)

Maybe it's a two-fer... they plan to use the immigrants to mine asteroids? What's next? Profit of course!

Stop right there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430695)

Whatever is out there in space belongs to everyone and no one on earth at the same time, unless it is already 'owned' by extraterrestrial species.

Suppose Coca Cola got the idea of painting their company logo over the whole moon by using a vast array of cheap rocket ships carrying some very light and dense coloring powder (or whatever else is most cost effective). Everybody on earth should have a say in this, shouldn't they? (If you're very much for Coca Cola, replace their sign with a portrait of Kim Jong Un in the example.)

Does Amerika have jurisdiction? (0)

ai4px (1244212) | about 4 months ago | (#47430787)

Does America even have jurisdiction above 100km? WTF????

A bit too late (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 months ago | (#47430795)

Such a bill belongs in Russia, China or some other place that hasn't given up on space.

It has been already a practice. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430855)

This has been already a practice. When Apollo 11 come back with moon rocks no reasonable party questioned US rights to own those minerals. I believe Russian Luna robotic lander also returned some rocks from the moon and identically no reasonable party on Earth questioned Russian right to own those rocks. Now with private industries trying to invest into space exploration the practice is simply approaching a point when some legal framework must be developed. First step will be probably in the countries legal systems. Eventually it will evolve into the international law.

You can't protect that way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47430929)

You can't protect something you don't have sovereignty over in the first place.

If you bring it up there, it's yours. If it's out there already, it isn't. That seems pretty clear from current international treaty.

If these (idiot) legislators want to make some progress, they could propose an international treaty be negotiated or modified to allow for what they're talking about, but to unilaterally declare that property rights exist on other planetary bodies without having such a treaty foundation is ridiculous. Nobody is going to recognize it unless citizens of all countries have similar rights.

It's also a pretty sad commentary on the priorities of US legislators these days. They're spending time on this poorly-formulated thing instead of other important issues?

Good for Aerio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431013)

I think this is a good move on Aerio's part. I think broadcasters (over the air broadcasters) where the content is coming from would be much more willing to accept this solution over the previous. Aerio has absolutely NO business model without the OTA broadcasters. Cable companies can suck it. As far as I'm concerned, they have no legitimate stake in this. Aerio is not using cable companies signals and retransmitting over the internet. It is only local OTA broadcasters that suffered a loss. Now that Aerio has agreed to pay royalties for the content they are delivering they should be much more agreeable. Aerio still won't be able to broadcast ESPN or Disney channel... because those are only available on cable. Not free OTA. So if the cable companies are upset.... boo hoo, cry me a river.

Good for Aerio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431029)

Ooops. Wrong story.

my reccomended method for calculating ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431093)

If you change an objects velocity by more than a certain amount (probably a few thousand mph) then you can claim ownership of it. Small objects are easy to claim. large objects require a lot of fuel (and therefore cost) to claim. Small objects extracted from large objects - e.g. mined. are easy to claim. Very large objects are impossible to claim. If you caused delta v of an asteroid to put it in lunar orbit to mine it and thus it cost you money then you own it if the delta v was big enough.

a couple of points (3, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | about 4 months ago | (#47431105)

1) First, the silliness with bill names really needs to stop; one imagines a giglling kindergartner sitting "playing" Congressman typing out stupid acronyms while lobbyists sit in the background actually crafting the legislative language.

2) Then again, there are so many vagaries in the language of this bill, it's almost comical that it would be presented as legislation.
First, the bill keeps referring to "asteroids in outer space" - WTF is "outer space" precisely? Anything ex-atmospheric? Above the Karman Line? Anything in orbit? Anything outside lunar orbit?
Second, I believe even astronomers are having Platonic debates over the precise meanings of such terms as 'asteroid', 'planetoid', and 'moon'. Heck, in wiki's intro to "asteroid", the bulk of the opening paragraph sort of dissolves asymptotically trying to grab specifics. This document constantly references asteroids without bothering even to define what they're talking about. It might include Ceres or Vesta, but could it include the Moon? How about Phobos? Pluto?

Of course, most people have comfortable working definitions of the above, insofar as they care. But when the first rover starts drilling into the Moon, or Mars, or heck, taps into an agglomeration of someone else's space junk asserting it's "space debris that's formed an asteroid" these sorts of vagaries cause massive legal issues.

More evidence - as if the US public needed it - that our congressvermin are just idiots.

Re:a couple of points (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 4 months ago | (#47431601)

I was under the impression that contrived acronyms were the great American passtime, in much the same way that all British government efforts must sound like evil organisations from James Bond movies (DEFRA, COBRA, OFSTED, the Coal Board).

Bullshit (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 months ago | (#47431211)

Possession is 90% of the law, defense is the other 10%. If you can get it and defend it, it's yours. It's the same principle on which ownership of every country on Earth is based.

Re:Bullshit (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47431613)

Possession is 90% of the law, defense is the other 10%

You know, I've seen this cited several times lately.

Show us, exactly, where the law says this.

It's illegal to be in possession of stolen goods. This is not grade 3.

If you can get it and defend it, it's yours.

So, you believe if I can take it from you by force, it's mine?

Well, here's hoping someone takes your stuff from you, and then we'll see if you stand by that statement.

Re:Bullshit (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 4 months ago | (#47431847)

So, you believe if I can take it from you by force, it's mine?

You should really read more carefully. Overzeetop said "get it and defend it."

The US won't have sovereignity (2)

plopez (54068) | about 4 months ago | (#47431471)

It will just protect the 'interests' of an American corporation. See the US 'interventions', the US has never invaded anyone; in Panama, Columbia, Honduras, Cuba, Honduras again, Panama again, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. And that ignores invading Mexico in the 1840's to support Texans' 'property rights', aka slavery, and on others. Oh, and that list is just up to about 1915.

Outer Space Treaty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47431595)

Anyone consider the Outer Space Treaty has severely limited space exploration? You know nothing motivates people to do something better than the fear that someone else is going to get there first and beat you to the claim. Traditional rules for laying claim is permanent occupation, so without the Outer Space Treaty, would we have permanent settlements on the Moon and Mars today?

This is great and all... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 4 months ago | (#47431683)

...but it should be pointed out: Congress' jurisdiction does not extend out to the asteroids, regardless of what they legislate...

Re:This is great and all... (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 4 months ago | (#47431883)

...but it should also be pointed out that when you bring said mined assets back into the USA, congress does have jurisdiction, and that's what this law primarily addresses, although it may also have direct implications for how US government crewed spacecraft will treat US citizen or corporation owned spacecraft carrying cargo.

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