As a new space race accelerates, many high-tech company executives regard Mars as the home of mankind outside the earth. But they may have seen too far. Our most immediate opportunities for survival outside the earth are much closer to us, and this path is likely to be opened by companies that are far from being known.
NASA scientists say that building a colony on the moon will “provide a blueprint for Mars.” Those who will build these settlements on the moon are likely to be employed by small private mining companies rather than tech giants, many of which have ties to the small EU country Luxembourg.
Surprisingly, NASA believes that such a lunar colony can be established in the next four years.
Hakamada Takeshi is one of those who tried to bravely return to a place where humanity has already set foot. However, this time, he has a more commercial dream in his mind: to search for profitable mineral and gas resources on the moon, and lunar water to sustain life.
Hakamada Takeshi is the CEO of Ispace, a private space exploration company headquartered in Tokyo with operations in Luxembourg. The company plans to complete an orbit around the moon in 2020, and then try a soft landing on the moon in 2021.
”Our first two missions will demonstrate technology. From then on, we will start to build high-frequency transportation services to bring customers’ payloads to the moon.” He said, “If we can find it on the moon Water resources can develop a new resource industry in space.” For mankind, the discovery of a frozen water basin will be a landmark moment, because it will allow mankind to stay far away from the earth for longer.
Hakamada Takeshi is not the only one with ambitions for the universe. Since Luxembourg launched the Space Resources Act in February 2016, 10 space mining companies including Ispace have been legally registered in Luxembourg. This is the result of the stimulus of the $223 million fund. For these space companies, the moon is one of the two main goals under consideration. Commercial venture capital companies are also looking for near-Earth asteroids to mine metal resources. Some experts, including the famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, said that between the moon and about 16,000 near-Earth asteroids, the existing resources may be enough to generate the world’s first trillions. Regal.
After Luxembourg promulgated the “Space Resources Act” in 2016, the current space race has accelerated. This makes it the second country in the world that provides a comprehensive legal framework for the development of resources beyond the earth after the United States. “Since February 2016, we have interacted with nearly 200 companies that contacted us.” said Paul Zenas, a representative of the Luxembourg Ministry of Economy, who is responsible for managing the government’s space resources.
Luxembourg’s space framework is very different from that of the United States. The latter law requires companies to hold more than 50% of the equity backed by the United States, while Luxembourg does not have this restriction. According to data from the International Monetary Fund, the wealthy Grand Duchy ranks as the richest country in the world in terms of per capita gross domestic product (GDP), and has also been accused by some as a tax haven. It does provide a range of tax incentives and benefits, including extremely low capital repatriation rates.
Luxembourg joined the space resource race in 2016, which has had an impact on attracting the largest companies in the United States, including Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources. The US-based company is backed by Sir Richard Branson and Google co-founder Larry Page. Planetary Resources is the oldest in the private space industry. It sold $28 million in shares to Luxembourg. The specific amount of share capital has never been disclosed, but the company’s CEO admitted that Luxembourg is one of the largest investors.
Luxembourg’s “Space Resources Law” opened the floodgates for investment. The space industry accounts for about 1.8% of the country’s GDP, the highest proportion among EU countries.
Despite the investment, the space mining industry also highlights vague legal misunderstandings.
A study by the Allen & Partners International Law Firm in Luxembourg found that “whether international space law allows a country to grant property rights to natural resources extracted from space is still unclear.” And the United States approved the world’s first space in 2015. After the mining law, Russia was one of the countries that raised objections.
In order to understand the ambiguity of space, we must go back to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, a Cold War-era agreement that prohibited states from possessing celestial bodies. In essence, space is regarded as a common land, unlike Antarctica. The Outer Space Treaty signed by 105 countries has made military development of space extremely limited. In order to realize the space force that President Trump recently talked about, Washington will have to withdraw from the Outer Space Treaty.
However, the Outer Space Treaty obviously ignores any mention of resource ownership, which is an omission in the definition chosen by the United States and Luxembourg. They cannot be the only two. The UAE recently signed an agreement to imitate Luxembourg’s legal skills.
Paul Zenas, a representative of the Luxembourg Ministry of Economy, said: “Luxembourg’s law on the exploration and use of space resources addresses this issue and clarifies this at the national level as the first step in the development of space resource activities. Luxembourg’s law There is no goal, purpose or effect that paves the way for any country to occupy celestial bodies. The issue of ownership of space resources has been resolved at the legal level, and the law also regulates the authorization and supervision of missions. ”
Luxembourg is a small area and may have Help it to lead the way in this new “space gold rush”. CEO of US-based Deep Space Industries, Inc., Bill Miller, said: “Like the US, Luxembourg proved to be a forward-looking country has, their success will allow private companies to perform deep-space missions.”
This The controversy may not be hotly debated for some time: Deep Space Industries has become accustomed to touting ambitious start-up timelines. But if profits start to roll in one day in the near future, Luxembourg may be far ahead.