U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that supports the exploration and use of space resources by US citizens and companies, taking a big step this week for all the miners.
Scott Pace, Deputy Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary of the National Space Council said in a statement this week that this executive order sets US policy towards the restoration and use of space resources, such as water and some minerals, in order to encourage the commercial development of space.
The title, “Encouraging International Support to Recover and Use Space Resources”, gives Americans the right to engage in commercial exploration and to restore and use resources in outer space.
According to analysts, the US policy contrasts with the 1979 Moon Treaty, which America has not signed. The treaty states that any non-scientific use of space resources is subject to an international regulatory framework, however, the State Department requests other countries to take a similar approach.
The executive order gives US companies operating in space the right to explore and mine for new resources. Outer space is a legally and physically unique field of human activity, and the United States does not consider it as global resource domains.
In 2015, the U.S. Congress already passed a law that allowed individuals and companies to explore the moon and asteroids for its resources.
The executive order came this week as NASA published its long-term plan for lunar exploration and sustainable development, which envisages a “base camp” on the south pole of the moon.
NASA is also preparing for the Mars 2020 mission in July as it plans to send its rover to the red planet to collect samples and conduct a number of scientific experiments, including the production of oxygen from carbon dioxide.
CNBC, citing a senior White House official, stated that the United States has already received support from Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and China, yet, not all countries has responded with a positive response.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said yesterday that any kind of attempt to privatize space in one form or another is unacceptable.
Sergey Savliev, deputy director of Roscosmos also issued a statement criticizing the move. “Attempts to confiscate outer space and aggressive plans to effectively seize the territory of other planets will not encourage other countries to engage in fruitful cooperation,” Savliev said.
Meantime, Roscosmos also plans to build a long-term base on the moon in the next two decades.