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Who Owns the Resources Found in Outer Space?

Thanks to the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship (SPACE) Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2015, any U.S. company -- or citizen, for that matter -- can use the resources discovered on asteroids for their own commercial gain. The law reverses the longstanding notion that space is a public domain where no one can claim ownership. And if you question whether asteroids contain anything worth the effort, consider the fact that some of them boast platinum cores worth trillions of U.S. dollars. If the technology for mining asteroids ever becomes a reality, that would make certain forward-thinking entrepreneurs very rich, indeed.

Searching the stars:

  • Coined in the early 1800s, the word asteroid means "star-shaped" in Greek.
  • There are so many factual errors in the 1998 asteroid movie Armageddon that NASA challenges management trainees to find as many as they can.
  • Scientists believe that a large asteroid struck the Earth 65 million years ago, causing a chain reaction that wiped out the dinosaurs.
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