President Obama Signs Bill Recognizing Asteroid Resource Property Rights Into Law

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President Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (H.R. 2262) into law Wednesday. This law recognizes the right of U.S. citizens to own asteroid resources they obtain and encourages the commercial exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids.

“This is the single greatest recognition of property rights in history,” commented Eric Anderson, co-founder and co-chairman of Planetary Resources, Inc. “This legislation establishes the same supportive framework that created the great economies of history, and will encourage the sustained development of space.”

The act provides for three things, mainly: facilitates exploration and commercial recovery of space resources by United States citizens; discourages governmental barriers to economic viability; and promotes the right of the U.S. to engage in commercial space exploration and recovery.

The act also recognizes the United States’ international obligations and that all activity will be subject to the authority of the federal government, which will supervise.

“A hundred years from now, humanity will look at this period in time as the point in which we were able to establish a permanent foothold in space,” stated Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, another co-founder and co-chairman of Planetary Resources. “In history, there has never been a more rapid rate progress than right now.”

Related post: Watch The International Space Station Travel Around The Earth (In Realtime)

The chief engineer of the organization also commented on the legislation: “This off-planet economy will forever change our lives for the better here on Earth. We celebrate this law as it creates a pro-growth environment for our emerging industry by encouraging private sector investment and ensuring an increasingly stable and predictable regulatory environment.”

By Andy Stern

NASA Developing Mission To Capture Boulder From Asteroid, Send It Into Moon Orbit

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First-of-its-kind NASA mission will also demonstrate ability to deflect asteroids

NASA has detailed ARM: its mission to send a robotic spacecraft to an asteroid, pluck a boulder off of the surface, and put the rock into orbit around the moon. It will also use an Enhanced Gravity Tractor to redirect the course of the asteroid.

The Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) includes other important stages as well: after capture from the yet-undecided upon asteroid, astronauts will shuttle out to the robot in NASA’s Orion craft to study the surface and bring samples back.

Two technological goals were clearly stated by NASA in relation to ARM: The mission will demonstrate NASA’s ability to deflect an object in space that threatens the planet, and it will test capabilities that will be required for the first crewed mission to Mars.

The course of the mission is planned as follows: the robotic spacecraft would fly by the asteroid several times, optically scanning the surface. It would then land above the boulder targeted. It would attach arms to the surface of the boulder, then push off again from the asteroid. The robotic craft would analyze the boulder for three days.

The next stage would be demonstration of NASA’s ability to redirect an asteroid using what it calls an Enhanced Gravity Tractor (EGT): The robotic craft would measure, calibrate and use the gravitational attraction between the asteroid and itself to alter the course of the asteroid, sending it in a chosen direction.

Then the robotic craft will set off for the lunar orbit, making use of its time with the boulder by scanning it further. The rock will be sent into a stable orbit around the moon.

Astronauts will rocket out to the boulder in NASA’s Orion spacecraft, secure Orion to it, and the astronauts will take space walks to study and collect samples, leaving the rock in orbit around the moon when they return to Earth.

NASA plans to launch the ARM robotic spacecraft at the close of the decade.

By Andy Stern
Source: NASA