Earlier this week, Trump signed an executive order asserting America’s right to mine the moon for natural resources. The order, titled “Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources,” also applies to Mars and “other destinations.”
Future exploration of the moon and planets, the order states, will “require partnership with commercial entities to recover and use resources, including water and certain minerals, in outer space.” The order is intended to clear up legal uncertainty that may have discouraged corporate entities from taking part in efforts to mine natural resources in space.
The so-called Moon Agreement established by the United Nations in 1979 mandates that international regulations govern the non-scientific use of space resources. The United States, however, has not signed the agreement, and will continue to pursue an “America First” policy in space, according to the executive order:
Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law. Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and the United States does not view it as a global commons. Accordingly, it shall be the policy of the United States to encourage international support for the public and private recovery and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law.
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, immediately criticized the order, and accused Trump of attempting to “expropriate outer space and … seize territories of other planets.” A Kremlin spokesman added that the Russian government opposed “any kind of attempt to privatize space in one form or another.”
Cry me a moon river. Perhaps they should have thought about that before getting their asses kicked in the space race. Trump’s latest action is yet another reminder that American Greatness cannot, and will not, be confined to the Earth’s atmosphere.
Drill, baby, drill!