In space no one can hear you scheme. But here on Earth, plan is to go where few have gone, to be getting louder by the minute.
In February, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo succeeded for the third glide-flight test, putting it on pace to offer suborbital space tourism by the end of 2018. In March, Goldman Sachs announced to the investors that a single asteroid with $25 billion to $50 billion of platinum can be won by a spacecraft cost only $2.6 billion less than a third of what is invested in Uber.
“While the psychological barrier for the mining of asteroids is high,” the Goldman report concludes: “the actual financial and technological barriers are much lower.” In April, NASA selected Trans Astronautica Corp., an air carrier located in Lake View Terrace, Calif., for $3.25 million in technology grants. Under TransAstra the NASA-approved projects: an asteroid-hunting telescope whose mission is “to start a gold rush in space.”
The final frontier starts to look a lot like the Wild West. As more companies announce ambitious plans to do business outside of the Earth, serious questions arise about the lawfulness of the planet activity.
This story originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal.