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(Kitco News) US President Donald Trump has taken a big step for all wannabe space breakers out there this week by signing an executive order supporting the exploration and use of space resources by US citizens and businesses.
“This executive order defines the United States’ policy for the recovery and use of space resources, such as water and certain minerals, to encourage the commercial development of space,”
The order, entitled “Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources,” gives Americans “the right to participate in commercial exploration, recovery and use of resources in outer space.”
The Ministry of State also wants other countries to follow a similar strategy. American politics is contrary to the 1979 Moon Treaty, which America has not signed. The Treaty states that all non-scientific use of space resources is governed by an international regulatory framework.
The executive order gives companies working in space the right to resources extracted there. “External space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and the United States does not see it as a global public,” the order said.
It’s not a new idea. The US Congress already passed a law in 2015 that allowed both individuals and businesses to use the moon and asteroid for their resources.
Monday’s executive order comes when NASA published its long-term plan for sustainable lunar exploration and development, which represents a “base camp” on the lunar south pole.
NASA is also preparing for its March 2020 mission in July, during which it plans to send its Perseverance Rover to the Red Planet to collect samples and conduct a number of scientific experiments, including producing oxygen from CO2.
The US has already received support from Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and China, CNBC reported he quoted a senior official at the White House.
But not all countries respond positively. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that “any attempt to privatize space in one form or another – and I find it difficult to say now if this can be seen as an attempt to privatize space – would be unacceptable.”
Russia’s space agency Roscosmos also released a statement Tuesday criticizing the move. “Attempts to expropriate outer space and aggressive plans to de facto seize territories on other planets will hardly encourage other countries to participate in fruitful cooperation,” said Sergey Savelyev, Roscosmo’s Deputy Director for International Cooperation.
Roscosmos also plans to build a long-term base on the moon over the next two decades.
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