Congress is back in session and getting right down to work on pressing science and technology issues like education funding, Net neutrality and ... oh wait. Actually, the House is holding a hearing on Wednesday to discuss a new law to manage resource mining in space: the ASTEROIDS Act (PDF).
No one seems to be asserting that managing mineral claims on asteroids is a pressing issue at the moment. But as Adam Minter reports today for Bloomberg, establishing a legal framework for it would probably help spur more entrepreneurial interest in the sector. James Cameron, Eric Schmidt, and Larry Page are among the investors in Washington State-based Planetary Resources, which plans to survey the "low-hanging fruit of the Solar System" using its Arkyd series of robotic spacecraft. Planetary Resources is also behind the Asteroid Zoo project, which exploits enables students, citizen scientists and other interested amateurs to hunt for undiscovered asteroids.