Luxembourg became the first European country to adopt a law allowing private companies to mine minerals in space, according to Metalinfo.
Normative act, which will enter into force on 1 August 2017, establishes procedures for the approval of space mining projects, order commercial resource use and management principles to projects.
In 2016, the Luxembourg government has launched an initiative SpaceResources.lu, in which expressed support for R & d in the field of space mining and the beginning of the development of legislation in this area. After this the American company Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources, promoting such projects, have opened their branches in Luxembourg.
Space mining involves the study and commercial exploitation of near-earth objects. These include a few thousand asteroids, comets and large meteorites, the orbit of which is in the immediate vicinity of the Earth with a possible approach to it on distance up to 450 thousand.
It is assumed that many asteroids contain huge reserves of iron, Nickel, cobalt, tungsten and others. In recent years, some private companies have discussed the possibility of organizing expeditions to these space objects for the purpose of production data, mineral resources. In the United States in 2015, a law was passed to US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which laid the legal framework for private space exploration and exploitation of its natural resources.
Earlier in the mission NEOWISE (Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) in 2016 opened 97 previously unknown objects, among them a 28 — earth, 64 — of the main belt asteroids and five comets. Ten of them classified as potentially hazardous to Earth asteroids.