(Natural News) The Space Race was originally driven by national prestige, scientific curiosity, and technological prowess. Tourism eventually joined those lofty reasons, being backed by big names and big money. In a CNBC article, the potentially huge profits of space mining are the newest reason to get into space.
Space tourism is slowly but steadily becoming a reality. The ultimate goal of its proponents – whose ranks include Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos – is to put a permanent human presence on another planet.
For the time being, they will settle for landing on one of the many near-Earth asteroids orbiting our home planet. Some of these asteroids come much closer to Earth than the Moon and may contain valuable resources.
Musk's SpaceX first launched its Falcon Heavy in February 2018. The new heavy launch vehicle boasts the biggest payload capacity of any operational rocket and is partially reusable.
Powerful and semi-reusable rockets could make launches much cheaper and more common. Those resource-rich asteroids could eventually be visited by space prospectors riding such rockets. (Related: A "luxury space hotel" will be open for business in just a few years.)
Existing laws are vague on who can own and use space resources
Experts have claimed that space mining could become a trillion-dollar industry. NASA has determined that the asteroid belt contains enough mineral wealth to turn everyone on Earth into multi-billionaires.
The acquisition, ownership, and use of space resources will lead to very prickly legal issues, warned Ian Christensen of the space think tank Secure World Foundation. He brought up how laws governing space are very ambiguous and generalized.