Luxembourg to become Silicon Valley of asteroid mining; could be dangerous for earth

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The European country Luxembourg, which is known as the world's richest country became the world leader in satellite communication technologies back in the 1980s. But, now this small country landlocked by Belgium, France and Germany has set its sights on becoming the 'silicon valley' of space mining.

As per a BBC report, Bill Miller, CEO of US-based Deep Space Industries, which uses Luxembourg as its European headquarters said that along with US, this small country also has proven to be "a forward-thinking country, and their success will enable private companies to conduct deep space missions."

In addition, Paul Zenners, a representative of Luxembourg's Ministry of Economy, which runs SpaceResources initiative said that since February 2016, "we interacted with almost 200 companies that have contacted us."

Earlier in January this year, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Etienne Schneider already stated that the country is "firmly committed to supporting the competitiveness of the commercial space industry in Europe."

However, it should be mentioned that asteroid mining is the exploitation of raw materials from asteroids and other minor planets, which also include near-earth objects.

The word, space mining may sound extremely fancy and something which belongs to the science fiction field, but a handful of companies and governments have decided to make it a reality. Luxembourg has become the first country to adopt legal regulations relating to mining in space.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy of Luxembourg, Etienne Schneider, said: "Our goal is to put into place an overall framework for the exploration and commercial use of resources from 'celestial bodies' such as asteroids, or from the moon."

Even Russia also offered Luxembourg a framework agreement on cooperation in the use of mining exploration in space.

However, it should be noted that as per Natalie Starkey, a cosmochemist and science author, while talking on StarTalk science podcast mentioned that mining asteroids could be dangerous as drilling into an asteroid for its resources could unintentionally direct it straight towards earth.

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