The Luxembourg Government has announced plans to create a legal framework for asteroid mining in a bid to explore and extract space resources.
The announcement comes after US President Barack Obama signed the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA) into law in November 2015, enabling private companies in the country to exploit space resources.
Luxembourg is set to support R&D in technologies, making it possible to invest directly in some companies that are active in this field.
As part of the spaceresources.lu initiative, key steps to be undertaken will include the development of a legal and regulatory framework confirming certainty about the future ownership of minerals extracted in space from near Earth objects (NEOs) such as asteroids.
Luxembourg plans to set-out a formal legal framework to ensure that private operators working in space can own rights on the rare minerals extracted by them from asteroids.
The framework is planned to be worked out in full consideration of international law.
Costs for the new SpaceResources.lu initiative will be part of the country's space budget.
Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Étienne Schneider said: "Our aim is to open access to a wealth of previously unexplored mineral resources on lifeless rocks hurling through space, without damaging natural habitats.
"We will support the long-term economic development of new, innovative activities in the space and satellite industries as a key high-tech sector for Luxembourg."
Congratulating Luxembourg on its support of space resources development, Deep Space Industries (DSI) CEO Daniel Faber said: "We look forward to further developing our partnership with the government of Luxembourg, and the other nations of Europe to build a reliable supply chain of in-space resources and technologies."
Image: Deep Space Industries prospecting spacecraft. Photo: courtesy of Bryan Versteeg / DSI.