Developing a Law of Asteroids: Constants, Variables, and Alternatives

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The proposition of mining an asteroid for natural resources is quickly moving from the realm of science fiction into viable reality.  As a review of the relevant literature and domestic and international laws makes clear, the legal status of an asteroid-mining venture, or any property rights developing from such a venture, remains doubtful.  Several potential legal principles or regimes have been discussed in the literature, such that there would be limited value in offering another.  Instead, this Note gives the legal problems a firmer foundation in scientific experience, weighs the merits and shortcomings of the extant proposals, considers which empirical variables should shape any future legal approach to asteroid law, and addresses some of the more general challenges of making law prospectively, especially in the transnational context.

 

54 Colum. J. Transnat'l L. 827