Several national governments have recently taken substantial steps toward creating policies that apply to new, path-breaking activities at asteroids in outer space. Near-term activities on asteroids are likely to be various, including mining initiated by private firms and planetary defense activities pursued by public agencies. Current perspectives on making policy toward asteroid activities often presume that the different goals pursued by actors interested in asteroids are mutually supportive and that diverse actors' common focus on asteroids builds momentum for creating an enabling policy environment. In contrast, we argue that the four main categories of asteroid activities envisioned today – scientific research (science), human settlement of other parts of the solar system (settlement), planetary defense (security), and mining (sales) – are best served by policy regimes with distinct features. Different activities require different policy arrangements, which are not straightforwardly compatible. The incompatibilities present policymakers with trade-offs. This paper discusses the four main types of asteroid activities and their related policy needs to highlight these trade-offs and influence debate.
Bio: focuses her research on China-U.S. relations in strategic high-technology sectors. Her doctoral dissertation examines trade and technical cooperation between the two countries in commercial aircraft-manufacturing and civil-commercial space. During her time in the program, she will develop this project to examine bilateral relations in other high-technology sectors.
Alanna holds a PhD in political science at the University of Toronto. She has conducted research in Beijing and at several other sites across China as a visiting scholar in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and in Washington, DC, as a visiting scholar in the Space Policy Institute of The George Washington University. Alanna graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours from McGill University and has a Master's degree from the University of Toronto.