A little discussed piece of legislation was recently signed into law in the US by Pres. Obama known as the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, aka the Space Act 2015 that provides the legal basis for the coming scramble to stake a claim by private investors on the solar system's vast mineral wealth........ http://spacenews.com/u-s-commercial-space-acts-treaty-compliance-may-depend-on-implementation/ But some have suggested that this contravenes the Outer Space Treaty which prevents any single country from claiming sovereignty over parts of space. The problem with this law is that other countries may not agree with the American's interpretation of Outer Space Treaty that they say permits private investors to mine asteroids and celestial bodies for their own gains. It is likely that for some time such commercial space operations will take place in a legal grey zone without clear rules and guidelines in place that specifies what is permitted or not. But for those wishing to exploit space the benefits could be HUGE, with literally trillions of dollars of gold, platinum and various minerals scattered across the solar system. If industry were able to successfully mine such vast reserves of these minerals it could lead to an economic boom for humanity. Already there are quite a few mining businesses (virtually all US based) established for the purpose of exploiting space resources: http://deepspaceindustries.com/ http://www.shackletonenergy.com/ http://www.planetaryresources.com/ [the most well known, with serious investment coming from the likes of Google co-founder Larry Page and Avatar director James Cameron] But right now what is needed is a global agreement among all nations that governs the regime for space utilisation and colonisation. Because as we saw when Europe colonised and exploited the America's during its colonial days the results were usually war between the various nations laying claims to territory. The last thing we want is for space faring nations to go to war over disputed ownership of highly lucrative asteroids.