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Corporations are interested in partnering with NASA for lunar and other deep-space initiatives, but will want property rights in exchange, a NASA-commissioned report released on Tuesday shows.

The U.S. space agency already is relying on private industry to fly cargo to the International Space Station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 250 miles above Earth. NASA has station cargo delivery contracts worth a combined $3.5 billion with privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX, and with Orbital Sciences Corp.

NASA has a similar program in place to spur development of privately owned space taxis to shuttle astronauts to and from the station as well. The agency currently is backing development of three competing designs, with the aim of selecting one or two for a test flight within about three years. The contenders are SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corp.

NASA should forge similar commercial partnerships for transportation beyond the station, including travel to and around the moon, a NASA-commissioned report by startup Bigelow Aerospace shows.

“Corporations and investors will need what has motivated such players since the beginning of time, property rights,” the report said.

It would be a violation of international law to allow corporations to gain "property rights" on lunar, or any other solar system real estate. But I'm sure that won't let that stop them from trying to acquire such "rights."  For example, who would oversee the "leasing" of lunar real estate for mining puposes?  And what kind of lunar environmental potections might apply, if any? To read more, click here.
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