One small step for a man, one giant leap for a duchy: Mining asteroids for minerals took one step closer to reality after tiny Luxembourg announced plans Wednesday to help the fledgling industry get into orbit.
The Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy announced the first government initiative in Europe to develop a legal and regulatory framework on the future ownership of minerals extracted from objects in space, such as asteroids. It also said it would invest in related research and development projects and may directly invest in companies active in the field.
"Our aim is to open access to a wealth of previously unexplored mineral resources on lifeless rocks hurling through space, without damaging natural habitats. We will support the long-term economic development of new, innovative activities in the space and satellite industries as a key high-tech sector for Luxembourg," said the country's deputy prime minister and minister of the economy, Étienne Schneider, in a statement published online on Wednesday.