Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit writes in USA Today of a great victory for property rights that's literally out of this world:
Last week, of course, we heard about Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin's successful launch and landing of a fully reusable spacecraft. But another thing happened last week that got less attention: President Obama signed landmark legislation, the "U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015." That legislation does a number of things, but the most important part is this passage:
"A United States citizen engaged in commercial recovery of an asteroid resource or a space resource under this chapter shall be entitled to any asteroid resource or space resource obtained, including to possess, own, transport, use, and sell the asteroid resource or space resource obtained in accordance with applicable law, including the international obligations of the United States."
There are a lot of good reasons to celebrate this development (even if it may not actually have been necessary under existing law). Reynolds explains:
Now investors don't have to worry about whether they'll plow millions (or billions) into a space mining company only to be told later that it broke the law….The solar system abounds in energy and material wealth, and far and away the greatest part of it is somewhere other than Earth. Rather than staying here, and fighting over slices of what's left, humanity should expand outward, competing peacefully to expand instead of engaging in zero-sum squabbles. We've taken a big step in that direction in the past week.
Some asteroids are believed to contain as much as $20 trillion in minerals, so the land rush (space rush?) will happen at some point. Reynolds hypothesizes that making it easier to mine in space also will help avoid conflict on Earth while resurrecting some of the frontier spirit that made America great (and this time, without displacing native Americans).
This is as good a reason as any to post Chris Elliott's senses-shattering dramatic reading of Rocket Man:
For context, go here.