The US has space experts worried about an extra-terrestrial land grab, reports Quartz (and lest you should think that’s a joke, first check out leading property sales firm Knight Frank’s Asteroid Index):
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Plans to make money in space are missing one of the fundamental ingredients to any business: property rights.
If you go mine an asteroid, as several companies plan to do, and bring some minerals back to earth, can you sell them? If you build a moonbase, as entrepreneur Robert Bigelow is contemplating, and someone else wants to land a rocket there, what’s to stop them?
Asteroid miners eager to raise funds to raid space rocks—some of which are packed with minerals valued in the trillions of dollars—are faced with a legal code that was never meant to apply to private enterprise in space, since it was written well before it took anything less than the resources of a national government to get to orbit.