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Chris Lewicki
Planetary Resources President Chris Lewicki with the Arkyd spacecraft at the GeekWire Summit 2014.

Asteroid mining has made its way to Washington D.C.

To help companies gain future legal ownership of resources found in space asteroids, the House of Representatives passed the “SPACE Act of 2015” this week, The Washington Post reported.

The legislation would create new commercial property rights for companies that want to mine asteroids for resources like gold, platinum, and water.

There are a handful of companies developing technology to mine asteroids, including Redmond-based Planetary Resources, a startup created by X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis and Space Adventures chairman Eric Anderson that’s backed by a wide range of investors, including Google CEO Larry Page and filmmaker James Cameron.

The company has plans to send future versions of its Arkyd spacecraft to hunt for and mine near-Earth asteroids, where the Planetary Resources envisions a trillion-dollar market capturing oxygen and hydrogen for fuel, and mining for precious metals. We’ve reached out to the company for comment on the legislation.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, the SPACE Act also includes other regulations that would help promote commercial projects in space.

Update: Here’s a statement from Planetary Resources:

Planetary Resources supports the SPACE Act of 2015 and would like to thank Congressman Kilmer (D-WA) for his leadership in drafting and gaining bipartisan support for the bill.

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