Main Points:

Nations seeking to encourage private sector space activities ought to revise the Outer Space Treaty (or enter into ancillary treaties) to provide clear transnational legal protection for private property rights and mineral exploitation in outer space. (2)

Nevertheless, a new crop of entrepreneurs has popped up in America, hoping to turn a profit on everything from cheaper cargo launch systems to mining on the Moon and tapping solar energy to space tourism and even celestial hotels. (2)

Human space exploration serves 9 needs: (5)

-        There exists a great potential for significant space-based research projects and technological innovation, including scientific and research laboratories for certain types of physical and chemical phenomena, including microgravity research experiments and agricultural production facilities. (5)

-        There is the possibility for significant commercial development of the Moon, including tourism, the mining of the lunar surface for minerals and metals, and serving as a laboratory and then a base for long-duration space flights to Mars. (5)

-        The benefits of space exploration include tapping space solar power to achieve pollution-free power generation. (6)

-        Supply depots and orbiting platforms could stock enormous quantities of supplies too heavy to be carried on longer-distance explorations. (7)

-        As a result of necessity, emergencies could trigger space exploration; otherwise, humans could be stuck on Earth without any options. (7)

-        The commercialization of space is linked to national security of the US. (8)

-        The commercialization of space would help the US maintain its general technological superiority in space, in particular, relative to potential competitors, such as China. (8)

-        New spacecraft enterprises, new spaceports, and related businesses offer jobs for skilled workers. (8)

-        Looking far into the future, human space exploration might help solve the mystery of life itself. (8)

[The Aldridge Commission of 2004] envisioned a space program dominated by diverse commercial interests, using a trial-and-error marketplace approach, with the business of delivering people and payloads into space handled by the private sector. (27)

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