Dean Sundahl Published Op-Ed Encouraging UN to Support U.S. Asteroid Mining Legislation

Associate Dean Mark Sundahl published an op-ed in Space News on June 9th encouraging the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) to acknowledge the legality of recent U.S. federal legislation that guarantees to U.S. asteroid mining companies the right to assert ownership over any natural resources they are able to extract from asteroids. Multiple U.S. companies, most notably Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, have already made significant investments to prospect and eventually mine valuable resources, such as platinum, from near Earth asteroids. Some delegations from UNCOPUOS, including Russia and Brazil, have alleged that the U.S. violated international law by enacting this legislation in light of the prohibition in the Outer Space Treaty against national appropriation of celestial bodies. In the op-ed, Dean Sundahl explains how the weight of academic and industry opinion on this issue is clearly on the side accepting asteroid mining as a legal act that does not amount to appropriation of a celestial body. He also discusses the importance of giving companies clarity on this issue in order to provide the level of investor confidence that will be required to fund these expensive ventures. The op-ed can be found here.

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