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Luxembourg’s legislature has rejected a proposed space regulatory framework because it did not address the legal restrictions on property rights imposed by the United Nations Outer Space Treaty.
Schneider, the deputy prime minister and minister for economy, presented a bill whose objective was to set a legal framework and give legal security to the property of minerals and other valuable resources in space, in particular on asteroids, and to regulate the authorisation and surveillance of both exploration and mining missions.
In a formal opinion published on 7 April, the council noted that private property claims are illegal or at least not legally binding in most of the international treaties and agreements relating to space and celestial bodies.
Neither the UN treaty on principles governing the activities of states in the exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies of 1967, nor the agreement governing the activities of states on the moon and other celestial bodies of 1979 (which was not ratified by Luxembourg) answer the question of private property of space resources.
What is most important here is that the Luxembourg government now intends to “to ask for a revision of the question of property in the Outer Space Treaty.” As I said in my op-ed in The Federalist on Monday, nations are increasingly recognizing that the Outer Space Treaty is a problem for property rights, and needs to be revised. Otherwise, private development will be difficult if not impossible.