The Luxembourg Government has passed a new law permitting exploration and usage of space resources, opening the possibility of mining in outer-space.
Adopted by the Luxembourg Parliament, the draft law is part of the SpaceResources.lu initiative.
This law is aimed at easing the legal and regulatory framework that is expected to result in an enabling atmosphere for private companies to carry out exploration activities in space.
Set to be effective next month, the law is aimed at meeting future energy needs taking into consideration advances in space technology, increasing exploration of outer space and the reducing resources on Earth.
Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Étienne Schneider said: “Luxembourg is the first adopter in Europe of a legal and regulatory framework recognising that space resources are capable of being owned by private companies.
"The Grand Duchy thus reinforces its position as a European hub for the exploration and use of space resources.
"The legal framework is part of the expertise ecosystem and the business-friendly, innovation-nurturing environment that Luxembourg is offering to space industry companies."
Recently, the Grand Duchy signed a joint statement on future activities concerning missions to the asteroids, related technologies and space resources exploration and utilisation with the European Space Agency (ESA).
Luxembourg and the ESA agreed to further study the technical and scientific aspects of space resources exploration and utilisation activities.
There is a growing interest from private investors and start-ups to invest in space technology, travel, and exploration.
In 2012, Space Exploration Technologies, a space transport services company founded by private investor Elon Musk, delivered cargo to and from the International Space Station using its Dragon spacecraft.
Recently, US-based Moon Express unveiled its plans to build a robotic outpost on the South Pole of the Moon by 2020, in order to land robots on it for mining water and minerals.