September 10th Hearing, House Subcommittee on Space – Exploring Our Solar System: The ASTEROIDS Act as a Key Step

I went to this hearing, and frankly was a little disappointed by this aspect of it. The sole witness who dealt with the Asteroid Act was Joanne Gabrynowicz, Director Emerita, Journal of Space Law. I am not a space lawyer, much less a space law professor, but she took a viewpoint along the lines of “nothing should be done until there is an international consensus to clarify the Outer Space Treaty. She flat out said that the Asteroid Act was a “terrible bill” in discussion afterwards. I had discussion afterwards with David Gump (CEO, Deep Space Industries) and Dean Larson (the local Planetary Society rep and the recent author of the OpEd in the Wall Street Journal), together with Henry Herzfeld (Prof. at G. Washington) and i think it is fair to say that none of us agreed with that position.

My take, and believe that at least Dean Larson has a similar opinion, is that Asteroid Mining is clearly legal now but that there is a need for a US Law clarifying the rules for US companies (so that, e.g., two US companies got into an argument over the same minerals on the same asteroid, there would be some law to guide them). The Asteroid Act would do that, so I support it.

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Prof. Gabrynowicz and Deep Space Industries CEO David Gump discussing the Asteroid Act after the meeting.

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