How Luxembourg became the leader of the new variety for the exploitation of space mining – BBC News

As the new space race accelerates, many executives from technology companies have sold Mars as the fate of humanity outside the Earth.

But maybe they look too far away. Our most direct opportunity to live on the planet is much closer, following a path that is likely to be opened by far less well-known companies.

Building colonies on the moon will provide us with a starting point for Mars, says a scientist

It is very likely that men and women will find these settlements in the moon rán employees will be from small mining companies, not billionaires from the technology sector .

Many of these companies are linked to a small nation of the European Union: the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

It is surprising that NASA believes these lunar colonies can be established in the next four years.

Takeshi Hakamada is one of those who are out to return to the place where mankind has placed a foot.

This time however is available per med. a much more commercial dream. io: explore the valuable minerals and gaseous sources of the Moon as well as their water sources, able to support life there.

Hakamada is the director of ispace a private space exploration company based in Tokyo, which also has offices in Luxembourg. It plans to complete a lunar orbit in 2020 and then make a landing in 2021.

Luxembourg is the richest country in the world per capita.

"Our first two missions will serve as a demonstration of We will start setting up a high-frequency transport service to bring the taxes of customers to the L a ," he says.

we have found water sources on the moon, we can develop a new industry of sources (minerals) in space, "he adds.

Finding a frozen water basin would be monumental, leaving people outside the earth

A handful of competitors

Hakamada is not even at a distance only in his cosmic ambitions.

At present there are 10 mining companies (including ISPAC [19659023]) legally established in Luxembourg since the enforcement in that country of the law on spacecraft in February 2016. This was driven by a fund worth US $ 223 million.

  Image of the Lunar Exploration. [19659025] The countries of the world have the legal right to examine the Moon but can not approve it. </figcaption></figure>
<p>  For these space companies, the Moon is one of the primary objectives that should be considered. commercial companies have also set their sights on near-Earth asteroids to explore their metal sources. </p>
<p>  Between the moon and about 16,000 nearby asteroids <strong> the available resources could be sufficient to create the first billionaire in the world. </strong> according to some experts, including the well-known astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson. </p>
<p>  The current space race accelerated after Luxembourg passed its law in 2016. This made it the second country after the United States to create a comprehensive legal framework for the exploration of mineral resources outside our planet. </p>
<p>  "Since February 2016 we have had contact with almost 200 companies that have contacted us", said Paul Zenners, a representative of the Luxembourg Ministry of Economy. that is the government initiative </p>
<p>  The legal framework created by Luxembourg differs significantly from the United States. The latter requires that companies have supported more than 50% of the capital in that country, while the former does not provide for this restriction. </p>
<p>  The rich Grand Duchy, which according to the population is the richest country in the world in terms of per capita IMF, <strong> is also accused by some of being a tax haven </strong>. It offers a variety of tax incentives and benefits, including extremely low rates for the repatriation of capital. </p>
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The settlement of colonies on the moon would be a first step towards an exploration of the deep earth.

The entry of Luxembourg in 2016 in the race for space assets had the effect of attracting large US companies to that sector, including Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources where the latter an American company supported by Sir Richard Branson and Google co-founder Larry Page

Planetary Resource s, one of the first companies in the mining sector, sold a stake of some US $ 28 million to the Grand Duchy. The exact amount has never been disclosed, but the management of the company recognizes that Luxembourg is one of the most important investors.

The Law of Luxembourg space resources opened the locks for a large flow of investment to the point that the Ministry of Economy now states that the aerospace industry 1.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) of the country, the highest percentage within the European Union.


Despite investments, mining Spatial is an industry that also emphasizes the existence of ambiguous legal obstacles.

  Virgin Galactic aircraft.
Virgin Galactic is one of the companies that are now linked to Luxembourg.

"It is not clear whether international space law gives a country the possibility to grant property rights for the extraction of natural resources in space," says an investigation by the law firm Allen and Overy based in Luxembourg

After the United States approved the first law on mining in 2015, Russia was one of the countries that publicly resisted.

In order to understand the ambiguity of space, one must refer to the Space Treaty (OST, for its abbreviation in English), approved in 1967, an agreement of the era of the Cold War which is the national appropriation of celestial bodies. prohibits. In essence space is treated as a common ground, similar to Antarctica.

Military development in space is extremely limited by the OST which was signed by 105 countries.

In order to implement the recent proposal by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to create a Space Force, Washington would have to withdraw from this agreement, something that would further isolate its country.

  Donald Trump. [19659047] To create the Space Facility that Trump had proposed, the United States would have to leave the Treaties on space. </figcaption></figure>
<p>  But the OST in particular avoids any reference to the possession of resources, an omission which the United States and Luxembourg omit. They have decided to define. It is unlikely that they will be the only ones. </p>
<p>  The UAE has recently signed an agreement to learn more about the legal subtlety used by Luxembourg. </p>
<p>  "The Luxembourg law on the exploration and use of space resources deals with this (omission) and provide clarity at national level, as a first step to allow activities related to space resources," says Zenners. </p>
<p> "Luxembourg law does not have the purpose, purpose or effect of paving the way for no national appropriation of the celestial bodies, only the ownership of space assets in this legal framework, which also provides the basis for the regulations for authorizing and monitoring missions, "he adds. </p>
<p>  The small size of Luxembourg can help you take the lead in this new gold rush for space assets. </p>
<p>  "Together with the United States, Luxembourg has shown itself to be an advanced country and <strong> its success will enable private companies to carry out missions in deep space </strong>", says Bill Miller, director of <em> Deep Space Industries </em> an American company based in Luxembourg, headquartered in Europe. </p>
<p>  This debate is unlikely to peak, as space mining companies are in the habit of promoting overly ambitious launch schedules. But if profits start to appear in the near future one day, it is wise to bet Luxembourg will be in the picture of the winners somewhere. </p>
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