Space Mining Emerging Future Legal Issue for Space Industry
Maharashtra National Law University, Aurangabad, India
Volume III, Issue VI, 2020
Mineral resources are oomph of the 1000 billion USD world economies. Scarcity in mineral resources brings with it, economic scarcity, both of which are a result of geological scarcity. The space mining explorations will lead to reorganization of the sector. The future of this sector and laws regulating asteroid mining are open to question. The present article is an attempt to make an assessment of such activities in the context of emerging legal issues that come along with commercial utilization of these resources. With the growing need for resources and such non-traditional missions, there will be difficulty in accessing the regulating legal aspects of space laws which results in scepticism.
U.S. and Luxembourg have given carte blanche to privately-owned entities to use space resources and operate independently (legal rights) in low earth orbit (eventually deep space) through their domestic laws which they say comply with the obligation under international law. Propensity still exists due to lack of maturity in space mining laws and these truancyof relevant norms or a statute and any office administering space mining activities. This would foment resource conflicts in outer space due to the rule of few. Propensity also lies in whether or not the use of outer space resources is authorised.
The Outer Space Treaty “prohibits states from owning celestial bodies by claims of sovereignty, use, occupation, or any other means”. Additionally, this treaty makes States answerable for the endeavours of government / private commercial organisations by authorising and administering such activities ad nauseam. This paper also deals with the preeminent principles of space law to determine the appropriateness of such emerging commercial mining practices and also their effect on the outer space environment and the economic development of the mining industry.