Colorado legislators are behind a bill expanding the research of mining resources from space, such as those found on asteroids and the moon.
Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, introduced the Space Resources Institute Act alongside Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden. If passed, the act would direct NASA to study the creation of the Space Resources Institute and submit the results to Congress.
Currently, both government and private groups are looking at space mining to fund future space exploration and manned missions. In a release, Tipton said the bill would evaluate the possibility of centralizing research.
“Aeronautical innovation has been a bright spot in our nation’s history,” Tipton said. “All parties will benefit from a central institution.”
Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., are introducing a companion bill in the Senate.
The bill is also receiving support from the Colorado School of Mines and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. Dr. George Sowers, professor of space resources at the School of Mines, said utilizing space resources would have “a critical enabling role” in NASA’s missions.
However, the Space Resources Institute Act drew a mixed response on social media. One constituent in Tipton’s congressional district asked, “Can we address issues closer to home while we strip mine the moon?” Others supported the potential for a diversifying economy. (Several references to Star Wars, Spaceballs and Star Trek were made, too.)
Colorado is no stranger to aerospace interest from lawmakers. In August, lawmakers praised the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of a commercial spaceport license for Front Range Airport, east of Denver. The airport plans to introduce space tourism, providing flights with a few minutes of weightlessness to rival similar startups in the country.