US President Barack Obama has recently signed an act legalising space mining. The act is expected to spark a rush of gold hunters to the cosmic space.

The new law allows commercial extraction of minerals and other materials, such as water, from the moon and asteroids.

According to an AFP report, the new legislation is expected to spark an interplanetary gold rush, with the backing of the burgeoning private aeronautics industry. Reduction in commercial space flight costs could give a further fillip to the gold rush as more companies and investors go for space mining.

The US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015 has been welcomed by investors and other parties engaged in space exploration activities.

“Now it is permissible to interact with space. Exploring and using space’s resources has begun,” says Christopher Johnson, a lawyer at the Secure World Foundation, in the AFP report.

Chris Lewicki, President of the Planetary Resources, told AFP, “It has often been a question as to whether a commercial company will be able to go out and develop a resource.”

Commonly called The Space Act, the new legislation marks a deviation from the earlier concept of sharing of space resources for scientific research and exploration in the cosmos space. Under the new US law, investors will not have the right to profit from space exploration.

European space experts, however, feel that the new US legislation may contravene international treaties. According to the Space News, some experts believe that The Space Act may violate the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Alexander Soucek, head of the legal services department at the 22-nation European Space Agency, says, “It is very controversial; I can say that. There are lots of opinions on this.”

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