Space Mining And Exploration: Legislative Basis

Easiest Steps

The article’s title is straightforward as it offers the readers a glimpse of what to expect, the pivotal moment facing space mining and exploration. The title is followed by the table of contents that lists five sections and subsections, indicating how the author would cover the topic. The resource does not have an abstract, but the introduction offers a brief background of space exploration during the cold war, leading to soft laws and treaties that govern space (USU Libraries, 2018). The introduction states the paper’s objective, which is the review of suggested rules to avoid the increasing chance of conflict due to the aggressive space exploration by various nations. Instead of a literature review, the article has a detailed background section that describes activities emerging from space mining and exploration (Wolf, 2021). The conclusion ties the article’s main ideas and offers a summarized solution to the challenges of space exploration and mining.

Difficult Steps

The analysis section had some complex jargon, making it difficult to follow as it required several readings to comprehend the author’s key points. However, the author provided recent and relatable examples, such as Trump’s Space Force argument, that helped overall understand the issues.

Challenging Concepts

Overall, the article is well written, with multiple examples and recent references that most readers would understand. As a result, there were no challenging concepts in the paper.

Summary of the Article

During the Cold War, countries hastily designed laws to govern space exploration. While these laws have worked, militarization, desire for space mining, and privatization have created tension that could lead to conflict. The author suggests space metals have an unimaginable worth, implying that commercialization of space commerce could be a multi-trillion-dollar industry soon (Skauge, 2019). Therefore, the article reviews some of the proposed space laws by scholars that would resolve the impending disputes. For instance, private U.S.-based companies such as Planetary Resources, Bradford Space, and SpaceX, alongside the government agency NASA, have expressed their desire to start mining (Skauge, 2019). Currently, the Common Heritage of Mankind (CHM) principle indicates that certain resources belong to all humankind and govern space mining ventures. This principle ensures technologically advanced nations do not exploit space resources for their own benefit at the expense of other nations. However, CHM is insufficient in safeguarding space materials because countries like the U.S. display self-centered economic protectionism (Skauge, 2019). For example, the U.S. and other powerful nations failed to sign Outer Space Treaty and Moon Treaty because they had vital clauses of CHM that would significantly limit the exploitation of space minerals.

The U.S. rejected these laws, including the initial draft of International Sea Law, due to the use of socialist language in a capitalist and free market world. Countries explored the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) as an alternative in guiding nations in space exploration, where the companies are not allowed to mine but could benefit economically (Skauge, 2019). Despite controversy and violation of international laws, the U.S. passed the SPACE Act, and Luxemburg passed a similar rule, allowing private companies to invest in space exploration and benefit economically. Nonetheless, the article highlights Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) as a perfect example of where competing nations shelve their ambitions and work together for the benefit of humanity (Skauge, 2019). Finally, the author recommends adopting regulatory models with enforceable rules such as Lynn Fountain that allow space exploration and mining by developed nations, who would, in turn, invest in developing countries.


Skauge, T. (2019). Space mining & exploration: Facing a pivotal moment. The Journal of Corporation Law, 45(3), 815-832.

USU Libraries (2018). How to read a scientific article [Video]. YouTube. Web.

Wolf, E. (2021). How do I read a scholarly article? – SNHU library frequently asked questions. SNHU Library Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – SNHU Library Frequently Asked Questions. Web.