Space capitalism: Is asteroid mining and space colonization legal? | Peter Ward

Space capitalism: Is asteroid mining and space colonization legal? | Peter Ward


So the private space economy has emerged in
the last several decades, I guess. But it’s really increased in speed over the
past 10 years, I guess. SpaceX and Blue Origin are the ones that are
really making this go faster. You know, Musk’s SpaceX is obviously launching
rockets at cheaper prices than ever before, and that’s allowing more people than ever
to get into space. And that’s probably the biggest pro of private
space and the private space economy is that we’re enabling more access to space. We’re enabling people to do more things, more
great things, which ultimately help us here on Earth. Against that, there are some cons. Not everything is great when you launch in
space. If you do it in the right possible spirit,
then it’s all fantastic. If we’re going to the moon, if we’re going
to Mars, to better the species, then obviously that’s a great thing for Earth. It’s a great thing for humanity. But if you throw in capitalism and making
profits, then sometimes the waters can be muddied. And that’s not necessarily always a good thing. You can have things like monopolies in space,
something that not many people have ever thought of. And you can have poor regulation. And you can– it’s a very dangerous place,
space. And you can have incidents, accidents. There’s a host of things that could go wrong
if we don’t approach space in the right way. And with the private sector and with little
regulation– not saying that there is little regulation, but if we don’t keep up regulation–
then some things can go wrong. The main form of regulation is a treaty, actually,
that was signed in 1967. It’s the Outer Space Treaty. And it governs what you can and cannot do
in space, to a certain degree. So one of the major things it says is that
no country can colonize any part of the universe. So you can’t go to the moon and claim part
of it. So two years after that treaty was signed,
America did go to the moon, and they planted a flag on the surface, famously. But they actually went to great lengths to
explain that that wasn’t something that represented that they owned any of that territory. It was merely a symbol of achievement, rather
than staking any claim to the moon. You also see a lot of websites where people
are claiming to sell parts of the moon. And that’s completely illegal, impossible. That’s really just a piece of paper you’re
giving someone. So there is the Outer Space Treaty. And that is now coming up against private
space. The worlds are kind of colliding. The Outer Space Treaty was written so long
ago, before we even knew that private space was going to be a thing. So these private space companies that have
grand designs that, you know, Musk wants to go to Mars and wants to build a settlement
and a colony, he’s going to run into the Outer Space Treaty at some point. He’s not going to be able to do that without
tackling this law that was signed by all the major space faring nations that says that
nobody can claim part of another planet. So how do you build a settlement without claiming
part of that planet? And I guess another part of that is resource
gathering. There is what America has already said that
you can take resources from a place without owning it. So essentially, you could go to the moon and
you could take hydrogen from below the surface. But you don’t actually have to say that you
own that part of the moon, and that in the Outer Space Treaty, there is an ambiguity,
which America has come down on the side of no, you can go to the moon, take resources,
and not own it. Luxembourg has also said that you can do that. But other countries have come out against
it. So the regulations that there are, they’re
butting heads against the emerging private sector and other plans of countries. And at some point, something’s got to give. to do anything in space, in the private space
sector, you have to have a solid business plan, just like anywhere else in the world. So you have to be able to make money. And your biggest cost, obviously, is getting
a rocket off– getting a ride or a rocket off the face of the earth and landing it somewhere
and then carrying out an operation. Asteroid mining– some people don’t take it
so seriously within the industry, because it’s incredibly expensive just to go to the
moon, which is obviously a fairly standstill target, the moon. If you’re trying to land on an asteroid, put
equipment down. Put some kind of automated equipment down. Take the resources. Take off from the asteroid. Bring it back to Earth. Your overheads are so astronomically high
that there’s almost no way you could make a profit unless you were taking something
so far from that asteroid that you would sell it for an absolute fortune here on earth. So I mean, the law in America that they said
you can go to other places and mine resources and you don’t have to claim ownership was
backed up by the asteroid mining companies, which were very hot at the time of that law
being signed. They pushed for it because I knew that the
Outer Space Treaty was in that way, and they managed to push through a law just in America
that says you can do it. So legally, as long as they take off from
America, they can do it. Whether they’ll ever do it is another question. It’s one of those weird ideas that we might
never see come to fruition.

70 thoughts on “Space capitalism: Is asteroid mining and space colonization legal? | Peter Ward

  1. Imagine throwing an oppressed, divided and suffering humanity into the stars, and then profiting on the universe for paper on Earth.

  2. I'm just going to wait for an asteroid mining company to find and develop a mine.

    I'll then swoop in and mine alongside them.

    That's what the current treaty permits right?

  3. Capitalist insanity is thinking society will hold up long enough to make money mining asteroids before global climate collapse.

  4. We should adopt the same legal framework that America utilized when the west was being settled and developed. Capitalism FTW…..

  5. A private space economy will usher in the final stage of the growing corporate dystopia that already dominates the planet.

  6. I argue that space capitalism and less space regulation is better.
    1. In a space market, it is not the case that one person/company's profits come at the expense of another person/company's profits.
    2. Any space product, or product for which space is a nessesary material input to the finished product, will be valuable to people if people are willing to exchange other goods and services for it.
    3. Therefore, any and all profitable space capitalism is good. Regulation should be diminished, and we should look forward to the day when our solar system is the New York city of the great, free, capitalistic, universe.

  7. Also claiming territory in space, according to Locke's theory on property rights, would be ideal. Mine space diamonds on the moon!!!

  8. HEY! U NEED TO STOP RIGHT NOW! YOU SOUND LIKE CONFUSED! FOOL! WHO GIVE'S PERMISSION TO GO ANYWHERE IN SPACE!? FIRSTLY HUMANKIND ARE BASICALLY TO BACKWARDS AS TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANT DYNAMICS OF THIS NEW VERY! VERY! VERY! NEW! FRONTIER! TO EVEN JUSTIFY ANY REGULATION! IN THE EVENT OF THE ARRIVAL! OF A VERY ADVANCED GALACTIC SPECIES! WHAT! SOME EARTH ASS REPRESENTATIVE! WILL RUN UP THERE AND STICK A PAPER OF REGULATIONS IN THE FACE OF WHO! I'LL SUGGEST THE HUMAN ANIMALS THAT EXIST HER BE CAREFUL! AND VERY HUMBLE ABOUT THE SO-CALLED NEW! FRONTIER!NO ONE OWNS ANYTHING! GALACTIC ARRIVAL WILL DOMINATE! INCLUSIVELY! OR EXCLUSIVELY AND THERE IS NOT A DAMN THING A BACKWARDS SPECIES! CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT! (SHORT OF HAVING A LOT OF ASS WHIPPED INTO QUARANTINE SUBMISSION! LOOKING MORE & MORE LIKE AN EVENTUAL REALITY! FACE IT THIS PLANETARY SPECIES HAS A MAJOR DEFECT! ESPECIALLY COMING FROM MANY POSITIONS OF ILL TRUTH! I'VE SAID BEFORE THERE ARE NO SECRETS! ALL ADVANTAGES BEGOT BY UNTRUTHS! & DISTORTIONS! WILL BE DEALT WITH & WITHER LIKE A MACHE SUBJECT! AND EXPOSED! UNDERSTANDING THE SCIENTIFIC NUANCES OF OUR GALAXY! WILL TAKE A LOT MORE! OF A RESUME THAN JUST DISCOVERING FIRE 10:15 THOUSAND YEARS AGO! THE PLANET AND ITS CONTENTS ARE IN NEED OF DIRE HELP! DON'T WORRY SOME TOUGH LOVE IS COMING BASICALLY INSTEAD OF SPENDING VALUABLE RESOURCES TO MAKE EXPLOSIVE! DEVICES TO CRIPPLE OR DESTROY EACH OTHER! AND TO FURTHER MAKE THE PLANET MOSTLY UNLIVABLE! REDIRECT SUCH RESOURCES TO QUANTIDRIVE SYSTEMS: GROWTH METAL TECH. AND HYBRIDIZED ALLOYS! INVIRON DATABASES! AND FILTRATION SYSTEMS THAT CAN CLEAN! AND SUPPLEMENT EARTHS ATMOSPHERE! CONTROLLING POPULATION BY INDUCEMENTS OF WAR WASTING PLANETARY LIFE FORMS IS UTTER MADNESS AND THE CRAZY IS NEVER VERY ADAPTABLE!

  9. Laws are moot when faced with the will of the population. When people see that they can remove scarcity, and modern commerce at the same time, via space mining then I doubt capitalism has long left.

  10. Asteroids and comet's are among the most common and numerous objects throughout the universe leftovers of stellar and planetary formation(for every star and planet in each galaxy there's millions even billions of more asteroids and comet's able to sustain each existing individual with planets worth of wealth so stop thinking scarcity and finance and start thinking there's already been a kings and queens worth already in existence for everyone that's ever lived and more especially when we develope quantum bio-nanotechnology to process it to our liking)! Hence we don't need such a limiting socioeconomic philosophy(one of excess of stuff and emptiness of self, competition that breaks down more than can ever build up and so on) to carry us to the stars as it will create more illusory problems than can solve and get in the way of true innovative thinking and scientific/technological advancement as it has and still is! When someone uses philosophies designed to deceive(con) they too will be decieved(could be the basis of the interface model of perception)! We are systems in non-equilibrium we need socioeconomic systems that are not as vulnerable to crashes/failures(equilibrium) as capitalism(by social parasites) and other systems like political and governmental systems, we need systems that are more adaptable at both micro-and macroscales that work in ways similar to ecological networks(such as energetic food webs, mutualistic networks or cell level gene regulatory networks etc)! I believe we can do this we are already able to, we need to think more about what matters like putting life or lives that are living than the things in life that are for life, the house is for you, you are not for the house(the house is in equilibrium with the laws of physics, you are not; we and all life are beyond physics)! Physics cannot explain life, feeling, consciousness and experience, but life, mind, experience and consciousness can and has/is explaining physics!.

  11. Interesting talk. I think that we should have minimal regulation if any. If no private company can see an incentive to burn massive amounts of money on the slim chance of the space success, we're not going anywhere any time soon.
    Government has already proven itself inept beyond belief, so it would be a fools goal anticipating the government to fund something so expensive and to put the right incentives for the brilliant people to join them for the right reasons.

  12. We are talking about huge, big time, and literally out of this world amounts of money. If it is feasible and profitable, it will be done regardless of what any mid 20th century treaty says. That, you can take to the bank.

  13. In essence the answer is yes but it works on a similar set of rules to oil drilling out in the ocean:
    You own the rig, not the extraction site or the resources you haven't yet extracted from it yet

  14. Imagine a dystopian timeline, where owners of international banking systems and secret governments already mine asteroids with interstellar and intergalactic tech. And the earth's population is kept in the dark to the situation and in perpetual debt, to help fund these projects and the tech used to make this possible.

  15. So NASA has a perfect track record? Privatizing space exploration is better than the millions and millions in tax dollars. Does this guy work for NASA i might of missed it at the beginning .

  16. That's to say if we continue with systems and ideals(vulnerable to deceptive and selfish manipulation) that only create conflict and suffering we will spread it throughout the cosmos like a virus(most viruses have negligible deleterious effects on us and a large portion of all eukaryotic genetic elements are viral in origin, and so seem to be less parasitical than many people I know)! The destiny of the cosmos even the multiply-connected co-entangled multiverse is to become more enlivened(increase in enlivement), that's what were supposed to do is to spread life, good experiences, joy; instead we been mostly spreading death, suffering, misery, hatred, fear! Everything is connected and co-entangled even though we only mostly notice the fractalized seperation(spacetime being what connects all matter) so when we spread more misery, death, fear things(all around everyone) will re-organize and transform in a way to make you aware of the what needs to change(every electron and every particle is at the basal level as one electron or one partcle; so any and all experiences you have, your brain has, you feel as you too are made of electrons and other particles will be felt by all things at varying levels in many still to be discovered ways)!

  17. While geniuses are out there figuring it out, this guy has to remind you the rules. Fuck rules. Step aside beta and watch.

  18. if you have anti gravity, zero point energy space travel and commerce is less of a hassle. we wouldnt need to use this silly rocket tech any more then i need to use a horse to get to work, right now. quantum communications, blockchain allows for realtime tracking and distribution of resources. ai will allow much more then what is available now.

  19. Ah, but if you can build the infrastructure to re-fuel your rockets in space it changes. Then move the asteroids closer to Earth. Much easier to mine!

  20. He's wrong the treaty only prevents governments and ultimate that only applies to the ones that signed it, that treaty could not prevent humans migrating from earth, from forming new sovereignties in space. The websites selling space estate make this clear. Your government does not own you and cannot rightfully, without cause, hold you hostage on Earth. Does anyone think they should have that power?

  21. A single small icy chondrite could satisfy current demand for volatile chemicals, water and minerals for hundreds of years. A medium sized rocky asteroid contains enough metal to bootstrap a whole industry on the moon. Why aren't we there already? We have the tech.

  22. This is the best alternative I know; science not politics. ResourceBasedEconomy.org https://youtu.be/_EkMjTnWk14 https://youtu.be/aF8Dv8ZZFMc

  23. If I'm not wrong, Trump and cohorts drew up a paper a couple years back which stated that all space exploration and potential resource mining has to go through the USA first? I remember this being in the news, but not mentioned in this video. As far as I know, that paper was basically saying all territory outside of Planet Earth belongs to the United States.

  24. Why don’t we think about the reality of the execution of these things and not act like Science Fiction is our reality a priori to the fact. Begging the question if you ask me

  25. The year is 2067. After the human Mars colony declare independence and a failed nuclear attack from Earth we got the next chapter. Elon Musk strikes back.

  26. The first country to pull out this treaty will be USA, then Russia, then any country that can afford to go to space but by that time the US and Russia will have colonized most of what surrounds Earth…
    Don't even get me started on taking resources without owning the region…

  27. Asteroids WILL be useful as sources for in-space manufacture as then there is no cost or risk in taking materials from the Earth's surface. Considering their distances from Earth, it will be quite some time before that model is viable. We will see it on the Moon first. Whatever problems of territory that might come up, they will get solved when large scale manufacturing in space becomes possible.

  28. Eh, until we get some kind of enforcement organisation for the treaty up in space it's more or less a piece of paper that only serves to make it harder to justify the costs.
    Once the cost/benefit analyses start weighing in favour of mining, such as when we start serious construction in space, it'll happen regardless and I doubt anyone will have the will or ability to stop it.

  29. According to Outer Space Treaty no one, private or any country, can reclaim sovereignity or land rights of ANY CELESTIAL BODY IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. Earth it's A CELESTIAL BODY INSIDE THE UNIVERSE!! So, the concept of modern westfalian state, sovereignity, private property, frontiers, and the very definition of "country" falls apart! And the treaty if I remember well says that anyone can't do military activities….

  30. How will monopolies form in an unregulated system? Don't you realize that the only way it would be possible to maintain a monopoly for a profit is if you had some sort of mechanism of force to prohibit competition- such as the government? The monopolies of the gilded age were only able to come about because the government was on the payroll of these companies. They were the ones to use police force to break up strikers and put up burdensome obstacles to the monopoly's potential competition (something they still do today). The fact that people think the solution to monopolies is to expand government reach when they are the reason for its existence is disturbing.

    Furthermore, it seems as though most of the commenters are have some severe misunderstandings regarding Capitalism and Economics. Economics is not the study of Capitalism, it is the study of human behavior as it pertains to markets. Exchanging Capitalism for Socialism will not eliminate economic realities such as Supply and Demand.

    Also, many people seem to think that the more Capitalistic a society is the more environmentally damaging it will be. This is far from the truth. Socialist societies and environmental agencies are often catastrophic for the environment. See, for example the environmental destruction of the Ural Sea. You can't say that the Soviet Union destroyed that because of their "rampant capitalism."

    Finally, metrics like income inequality are terrible descriptors of the welfare of a society. If the wealth of the poor doubled and the wealth of the rich quadrupled, then the poor are still better off despite in increase in the inequality. If you really think it is a problem provide data that shows that the poor is actually getting poorer.

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