errr....does this not revoke all US ownership of EARTH
Not Extra-Terestial(off earth) but celestial(in space)
EG inclusive off earth.
Asteroid mining operation Planetary Resources is as pleased as punch with those members of the US Congress who've backed "historic legislation" H.R.2262 – aka the "SPACE Act of 2015". The act "recognizes the right of US citizens to own asteroid resources they obtain as property and encourages the commercial exploration and …
Well.. if you on the right side of the pond can grab some extra-terrestrial turf, guess what..? You can control to a pretty big extent what happens down here. Gravity and big rocks will be your friend and those at the bottom of the gravity well will know it.
"...the United States does not thereby assert sovereignty or sovereign or exclusive rights or jurisdiction over, or the ownership of, any celestial body."
I would love to see them try and duly get their head handed to them on a plate.
Still, never mind. I'm sure that the mega-corps are lawyering up to see how far they can push things.
Rather more to the point is, if they *did* ever acquire sovereignty then what is wrong with existing laws that US citizens could not already buy and sell stuff "up there" with the same legal framework as applies "down here".
Or perhaps Congress reckons there's nothing left to perfect in Reality and has decided out of sheer boredom to start perfecting the Hypothetical.
"Um, what's the point of offering ownership rights if it's not got sovereignty?"
My thought is it's along the line of an exclusive-importation rights deal. Suppose MegaMining Corp lays claim to Apophis, and goes out there with some mining equipment, and then ChinaMiner Corp sends their own guys and gear out there, MegaMining Corp is the only one allowed to sell material mined from Apophis, or any item manufactured from said material, in the USA. Such a law would then make it not worthwhile for ChinaMiner to go and mine Apophis since they wouldn't be allowed to sell anything made from the ore in the USA.
So while neither corporation "owns" Apophis per se, only MegaMining could expect to get any ROI from going out there since they have exclusive importation rights.
Although it would be interesting to see how they'd police and enforce sourcing, given the difficulties we have now of preventing things like conflict diamonds and warlord-funding tantalum from leaking into the world market.
"Such a law would then make it not worthwhile for ChinaMiner to go and mine Apophis since they wouldn't be allowed to sell anything made from the ore in the USA."
Only in Unicorn Fairyland maybe. In Reality, ChinaMiner wouldn't care less about the US of A , given that whatever Unobtanium it produces that makes the effort of going out to space worthwile, already has a market: the Rest of the World.
The US of A would be welcome to their slag, though. Ballistically if they get too uppity about it.
"My thought is it's along the line of an exclusive-importation rights deal"
I don't think so. As far as I can see, it's simply that there was previously no law covering ownership of material in space, so if you went and mined something and brought it back to Earth you wouldn't necessarily legally own it. It's the same on Earth - you can't just wander around digging stuff up and saying it's yours, things like oil and minerals are governed by licenses, treaties and so on. All this law is doing is explicitly applying the same to space - if you go and dig stuff up in space, that stuff is yours. The bit about sovereignty is just saying that while the stuff you've dug up will be recognised as yours, that doesn't mean the USA considers the place you dug it up from to be theirs.
Essentially, the law simply says exactly what everyone would have assumed to be the case anyway. But the thing about law is that you can't just assume anything, at some point someone needs to have actually written it down.
If I (or a Chinese/Russian state owned firm, more likely since I don't have a space programme yet) get to an asteroid and want it's contents, then I need to drop it on the continental US and have a US subsidiary wearing really hard hats mine it there? I suppose depending on which part of the US it falls on the law may become irrelevant.
On the other hand it's probably only by telling business that they can make money out there that anyone is really going to make the effort to haul arse of this bloody lump of rock.
So, capitalists have been waiting for government approval to pursue something that said can't regulate? That makes about as much sense as trying to fly up to an asteroid to plunder its booty, matey. Argh.
I wonder if they left an "out" in that act. If they don't assert sovereignty "out there", can they tax the proceeds from any off-planet operation? Take it a step further, colonize Mars. Can any revenue or activity on Mars be taxed? And the US Government (make that "all" governments) think the tax havens in the Caribbean give them fits... and they're here on Earth.
Well, I believe the US govt already taxes income earned by US citizens abroad, so perfectly consistent to tax income earned on Mars or an asteroid.
And as Congress has decided that they can grant the rights to mine territory outside the USA, presumably they have no problem with my local parish council granting me the rights to mine granite from Mount Rushmore?
Well, Mount Rushmore already has a sovereign claim on it, a Native American nation holds the mountain as holy, so a white chap decided to carve white mens faces on the holy mountain.
As for US taxation of income broad, from the Infernal Revenue Service website: "If you are a U.S. citizen or a resident alien of the United States and you live abroad, you are taxed on your worldwide income. However, you may qualify to exclude from income up to an amount of your foreign earnings that is adjusted annually for inflation ($92,900 for 2011, $95,100 for 2012, $97,600 for 2013, $99,200 for 2014 and $100,800 for 2015). In addition, you can exclude or deduct certain foreign housing amounts."
Make the legislation and interplanetary flowers will bloom? And will the Space Navy defend the right of US citizens to select the space trajectories that they damn well please if
tsarist soviet russian space police overtakes a colonists' cargo ship on the high spaces?
"Throughout history, governments have spurred growth in new frontiers by instituting sensible legislation"
Like, trade barriers, letters of patent, blocades, tariffs and duties and a bit of genocide of the natives on the side. Yeah, we get it, the pleasuring of political animals is de rigeur, but can we keep it low-key?
Letters patent are usually quite inoffensive, although indeed in the past they've been used to grant monopolies not related to inventions, such as the Hudson's Bay Company monopoly on the fur trade. However, I was wondering if perhaps you were really thinking of something else: perhaps letters of marque?
of the United States, outranking even the Constitution - the Constitution says so.
One wonders if these Congressmen have forgotten about the Moon Treaty. Of course, though, I know perfectly well they haven't; the concluding paragraph gives it away, if nothing else.
Space advocates do have a case that treating outer space like Antarctica forever will prevent it becoming a place put to the service of humanity, though; and unilateralism by the U.S. may indeed be the only way to make progress in today's political climate. So there is another side to this story.
No ratified treaties are second in power to the Constitution, the Constitution says so. The Constitution isn't law, it's a Constitution and may only be changed by the amendment process.
As for the moon and space treaty, I suspect that whoever arrives with metric tons of platinum, gold and rare earth metals shan't be turned away.
I was all prepared to come over all angry about this, but it seems quite reasonably worded to me.
They're not going to assert any sovereignty over solar system bodies, or prevent US entities from exploiting them.
I guess the test will be if non US entities decide to try some asteroid mining. Will the US be ok with that?
"I was all prepared to come over all angry about this, but it seems quite reasonably worded to me."
Same here, all it seems to be saying is, "if you find it, mine it and bring it back, it's yours." which seems fair enough. However a couple of things still worry me.
Are we going to see the extraterrestrial equivalent of patent trolling where some paper-only shell company in Delaware claims the mineral rights on some obscure boulder and unleashes the legal hounds once someone else actually makes a return on some real investment?
How far will the U.S. government go to protect its citizens rights to exploit extraterrestrial resources? Who does the arbitration in disputes between U.S. and other nations' mining companies over mineral rights? Is it all going to go a bit Wild West?
In space no one can hear you scream for your lawyer...
"promote the right of United States citizens to engage in commercial exploration for and commercial recovery of space resources free from harmful interference"
So it's quite OK to claim jump non US citizens?
And if they are asserting the right to prevent interference (presumably by armed force), how is that different from asserting sovereignty?
What extremely expensive material is it that they expect to find on asteroids? Most asteroids are made of rock or nickel-iron. Even if the rock contains some precious metals such as gold or platinum, its likely to be in the same sort quantities found on Earth, i.e. a few grams per ton. How do they expect to separate out the precious minerals. On Earth mineral separation processes require crushers and lots of water to divide the higher density materials from the dross. Not much water in deep space and differences in density are irrelevant in the absence of gravity.
I read the proposal as not banning other, non USA, organisations form mining the same celestial resources as USA corporations. Two or more could mine the same NEO in the brief window of opportunity that it lies within a reasonable distance from Earth.
The unanswered question is how governments on earth will resolve conflicts in space.
(I'm sure there's a relevant 'Red Dwarf' sketch, but I just can't think of it at the moment.)
It seems to me that the point was missed...instead of focusing on who has sovereignty over what in space, the real story is about who can claim ownership of whatever rock just hit the ground at whatever location. it is not always the case that if it lands in your yard its yours...where and when will the fighting begin then?
Sure, the topic or legislation seems to imply prospecting rights about space stuff, but if I read it right, it seems to cover "material" and that could imply what is already on the ground as well as in space. So just what did the company find that made them want to lobby this piece of legislation through? what does this mean for those companies or corporations that already have in their possession, a piece of rock from "out of this world"?
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