President Trump likes to remind us that he is, first and foremost, a businessman. With that singular mindset, the President on Monday signed the executive order titled Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources, thus paving the way for the commercialization of space.
This executive order infers that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty allows for the use of space resources on the Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies. Specifically, the order states that “Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity and the United States does not view space as a global commons.” Conversely, this order negates the 1979 Moon Treaty, which was never signed by the US. The treaty, in part, states that non-scientific use of space resources must be governed by international regulations.
By removing a decades-old presumptive legal barrier to entry, the US is hoping to spur economic development in this new frontier. As such, the executive order further states, “American industry and the industries of like-minded countries will benefit from the establishment of stable international practices by which private citizens, companies and the economy will benefit from expanding the economic sphere of human activity beyond the Earth.”
Perhaps as another “first step” on this new manifest destiny, NASA’s Artemis program is scheduled to land astronauts on the moon in 2024.
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