Luxembourg passes first EU space mining law. One can possess the Spice

Paves way for thousands of sci-fi novel prologues to come true


Luxembourg's parliament has passed a law that makes it the first European Union country to offer legal certainty that asteroid mining companies get to keep what they find in space.

Take Article 1: "Space resources are capable of being appropriated".

"It's a great law," Amara Graps, a planetary scientist, asteroid mining advocate, and independent consultant for the Luxembourg Ministry of Economy based in Riga, Latvia, told The Register by email.

The existing international space law standard, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, crucially doesn't make it clear if private companies own resources (minerals, water and whatever else is out there) they would stumble upon. The United States Congress passed a space mining law, the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, in 2015 that made this ability explicit.

Luxembourg announced its plans to come up with its own legal framework for Luxembourg-based companies in February 2016, releasing a draft law in November 2016 (PDF).

Yesterday, the Luxembourg parliament passed the draft bill (PDF) – with minor structural changes to the text, by a vote of 55 to two (with three absent), according to a spokesman for the Luxembourg Ministry of Economy.

"This one is more flexible than the US version," Graps said.

The spokesman claimed that the difference between the US space mining law and the Luxembourg space mining law is that in the US law, a majority of a company's stakeholders must be in the US, while the Luxembourg law places no restrictions on stakeholder locations.

Luxembourg has been pretty active in the space mining biz these days. Just last November, the EU country made a €25m investment and cooperation agreement with space mining company Planetary Resources.

Peter Marquez, the acting general manager of Planetary Resources Luxembourg, said in a statement: “Luxembourg’s new space resources law provides Planetary Resources with a strong basis for stability and predictability for our current and future asteroid mining operations.

"We are appreciative that Luxembourg has taken this critical step towards the long-term sustainability of asteroid mining.” ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • AMD claims its GPUs beat Nvidia on performance per dollar
    * Terms, conditions, hardware specs and software may vary – a lot

    As a slowdown in PC sales brings down prices for graphics cards, AMD is hoping to win over the market's remaining buyers with a bold, new claim that its latest Radeon cards provide better performance for the dollar than Nvidia's most recent GeForce cards.

    In an image tweeted Monday by AMD's top gaming executive, the chip designer claims its lineup of Radeon RX 6000 cards provide better performance per dollar than competing ones from Nvidia, with all but two of the ten cards listed offering advantages in the double-digit percentages. AMD also claims to provide better performance for the power required by each card in all but two of the cards.

    Continue reading
  • Google opens the pod doors on Bay View campus
    A futuristic design won't make people want to come back – just ask Apple

    After nearly a decade of planning and five years of construction, Google is cutting the ribbon on its Bay View campus, the first that Google itself designed.

    The Bay View campus in Mountain View – slated to open this week – consists of two office buildings (one of which, Charleston East, is still under construction), 20 acres of open space, a 1,000-person event center and 240 short-term accommodations for Google employees. The search giant said the buildings at Bay View total 1.1 million square feet. For reference, that's less than half the size of Apple's spaceship. 

    The roofs on the two main buildings, which look like pavilions roofed in sails, were designed that way for a purpose: They're a network of 90,000 scale-like solar panels nicknamed "dragonscales" for their layout and shimmer. By scaling the tiles, Google said the design minimises damage from wind, rain and snow, and the sloped pavilion-like roof improves solar capture by adding additional curves in the roof. 

    Continue reading
  • Pentester pops open Tesla Model 3 using low-cost Bluetooth module
    Anything that uses proximity-based BLE is vulnerable, claim researchers

    Tesla Model 3 and Y owners, beware: the passive entry feature on your vehicle could potentially be hoodwinked by a relay attack, leading to the theft of the flash motor.

    Discovered and demonstrated by researchers at NCC Group, the technique involves relaying the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals from a smartphone that has been paired with a Tesla back to the vehicle. Far from simply unlocking the door, this hack lets a miscreant start the car and drive away, too.

    Essentially, what happens is this: the paired smartphone should be physically close by the Tesla to unlock it. NCC's technique involves one gadget near the paired phone, and another gadget near the car. The phone-side gadget relays signals from the phone to the car-side gadget, which forwards them to the vehicle to unlock and start it. This shouldn't normally happen because the phone and car are so far apart. The car has a defense mechanism – based on measuring transmission latency to detect that a paired device is too far away – that ideally prevents relayed signals from working, though this can be defeated by simply cutting the latency of the relay process.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022