15 Feb 2018
Professor Frans von der Dunk’s article Asteroid Mining: International and National Legal Aspects, was published in the Michigan State International Law Review.
Asteroid mining is one of the more challenging issues not only technology speaking but also legally speaking: the Outer Space Treaty, the sole international legal document in force relevant to the matter, only provides for fairly general legal principles. The particular interpretation thereof for asteroid mining consequently is currently a matter for debate; the current article defends the proposition that the most sensible and appropriate interpretation thereof allows for commercial asteroid mining under national licenses as long as such licenses provide for sufficient supervision and legal control over the operation by the licensing state and guarantee compliance of licensees with the few more substantive requirements currently imposed by international space law, such as concerning liability for damage and the avoidance of harmful interference with other legitimate space activities. Even the Moon Agreement, though not in force as for the major spacefaring countries, seems to allow such a conclusion, much as it seems to aim for an international licensing regime as opposed to national discretion to license.