Space, the Final Frontier of Enterprise: Incentivizing Asteroid Mining Under a Revised International Framework

This Note argues that the Outer Space Treaty (the “OST”) should be modified to provide explicit permission for private entities to engage in asteroid mining while maintaining the principles of international peace and cooperation that the treaty espouses as the core of the framework governing outer space. Part I explores the current state of asteroid mining with reference to the current objectives of companies conducting missions in this realm. Part II examines the OST as applied to the enterprise of asteroid mining by private companies. Part III considers the benefits and drawbacks of various regulatory schemes to govern asteroid mining. It argues for a solution based on the historical development of the whaling industry that retains the principles and international character of the OST while still incentivizing asteroid mining.