. 24/7 Space News .
Luxembourg's ultimate offshore investment: Space mining
By Veronique POUJOL, with Marlowe HOOD in Paris
Luxembourg (AFP) Feb 3, 2016

Luxembourg positioned itself Wednesday to pioneer the potentially lucrative business of mining asteroids in space for precious metals such as gold, platinum and tungsten.

The government announced steps to create a legal framework for exploiting resources beyond Earth's atmosphere, and said it welcomed private investors and other nations.

With a well-established satellite industry, Luxembourg is the first country in Europe to stake out rights for the mining of so-called "near-Earth objects," according to officials.

In a similar move last November, President Barack Obama signed the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, giving US companies property rights over space resources they retrieve.

"Luxembourg also wants to set up a regulatory and legal framework in preparation of the exploitation of space," Jean-Jacques Dordain, former head of the European Space Agency and an advisor to Luxembourg, told AFP.

"Our aim is to open access to a wealth of previously unexplored mineral resources on lifeless rocks hurtling through space, without damaging natural habitats," the nation's economy minister Etienne Schneider said in a statement.

A well-worn theme of science fiction, mineral extraction in space may be on the verge of become a reality.

Two US-based companies, Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources, have bet heavily on a future market for metals from space.

Both applauded the Luxembourg announcement, and were identified as potential partners.

Looking for precious elements on asteroids tens of million of kilometres (miles) from Earth makes more economic sense that may be apparent at first glance.

As our planet cooled during the early phase of its formation, most heavy substances -- including metals -- sank toward its core, making them inaccessible.

What did remain close to the surface has already been heavily mined, including an increasingly wide range of rare metals used in the electronics and defence industries.

- Manufacturing in space -

A large number of asteroids -- which vary in size from a couple hundred kilometres across to a few metres -- are clustered in an belt between Mars and Jupiter, and orbit the Sun in the same way as planets.

Indeed, they are thought to be the remnants of a planet that fractured into pieces, perhaps due to a collision.

As a result, the same minerals pulled by gravity towards the centre of Earth are more plentiful and accessible on these free-floating fragments.

NASA has identified some 1,500 asteroids that it has described as easily accessible.

Rapid advances in technology and robotics have brought a space-based, industrial-scale operation into the realm of feasibility, experts say.

Deep Space Industries envisions a four-step process: prospecting, harvesting, processing and manufacturing.

Tiny space probes would search for iron ore, rare-earth metals and silicates. Some would be brought back to Earth, while others would become raw material for manufacturing in space using 3D printers.

The probes would also look for water -- normally abundant on asteroids -- to be broken down into oxygen and hydrogen, and used to fuel satellites and rockets.

"Manufacturing habitats, machines and giant structures from space resources will open a new era in exploration and settlement of the solar system," without the additional expense of launching from Earth, the company noted on its website.

In January, the European Space Agency elaborated a vision for a multinational "research village" on the Moon, a project it said could replace the International Space Station.

The village could also be used as a base for mining, and as a stopover for probes heading deeper into space.

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, signed by major industrial powers, stipulates that natural resources beyond Earth are part of mankind's "common heritage," raising questions as to whether efforts to privatise space mining violate its terms.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Asteroid and Comet Mission News, Science and Technology

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
New Animation Takes a Colorful Flight Over Ceres
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 31, 2016
A colorful new animation shows a simulated flight over the surface of dwarf planet Ceres, based on images from NASA's Dawn spacecraft. The movie shows Ceres in enhanced color, which helps to highlight subtle differences in the appearance of surface materials. Scientists believe areas with shades of blue contain younger, fresher material, including flows, pits and cracks. The animated ... read more

Phase of the moon affects amount of rainfall

Lunar Flashlight selected to fly as secondary payload on Exploration Mission-1

Russia postpones manned Lunar mission to 2035

Audi joins Google Lunar XPrize competition

Sandy Selfie Sent from NASA Mars Rover

4 people to live in an HERA habitat for 30 days at JSC

Getting real - on Mars

Opportunity Reaches 12 Years on Mars!

Innovations in the Air

Astronaut rescue exercise proves Det. 3 command, control ready to support DoD, NASA

Challenger disaster at 30: Did the tragedy change NASA for the better?

Voyager Mission Celebrates 30 Years Since Uranus

Last Launch for Long March 2F/G

China aims for the Moon with new rockets

China shoots for first landing on far side of the moon

Chinese Long March 3B to launch Belintersat-1 telco sat for Belarus

New Tool Provides Successful Visual Inspection of ISS Robot Arm

Russian Cosmonauts to Attach Thermal Insulation to ISS

Astronaut Scott Kelly plays ping pong with water

Japanese astronaut learned Russian to link two nations

NASA tests solar sail deployment for asteroid-surveying CubeSat NEA Scout

Space Launch System's first flight will launch small Sci-Tech cubesats

ILS Proton Successfully Launches Eutelsat 9B for Eutelsat

Pentagon Can't Overcome Its Russian Engines Addiction: McCain

Astronomers discover largest solar system

Lonely Planet Finds a Mum a Trillion Km Away

Follow A Live Planet Hunt

Lab discovery gives glimpse of conditions found on other planets

NASA's ICESat-2 equipped with unique 3-D manufactured part

Novel 4-D printing method blossoms from botanical inspiration

Will Space Debris be Responsible for World War III?

NASA Engineers Tapped to Build First Integrated-Photonics Modem

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.