US Congress approves new space mining bill

18 November 2015 (Last Updated November 18th, 2015 18:30)

The US Congress has approved legislation to enable companies to own resources that are extracted from asteroids.

The US Congress has approved legislation to enable companies to own resources that are extracted from asteroids.

The new Space Act of 2015 requires approval of the House of Representatives before moving on to President Obama. It will allow private companies to mine asteroids for materials such as water and platinum that are rare in space. However, the act does not not allow them to own the asteroid itself.

President Obama had previously suggested some tweaks in the process, but has not considered a veto of the bipartisan bill, reported the Washington Times.

"The act may see some initial problems as this would apply only to companies in the US and those operating within its jurisdiction."

University of Nebraska-Lincoln College teacher of space Frans von der Dunk told the Daily Nebraskan that the space resources would mitigate the need for earth resources and help solve global environmental as well as ecological problems.

However, the act may see some initial problems as this would apply only to companies in the US and those operating within its jurisdiction.

Furthermore, it may attract opposition from Russia and anti-US countries on the grounds that the US cannot grant permission for mining in space as it does not own it, Dunk added.

Since the beginning, the asteroid mining portion of the bill has been controversial and some space lawyers opine that it was added on at the last minute and does not have much details, Popular Science reported.