Thus begins a new time and a new law. There is no exact legal definition of who owns what in space. There is no precedent. What there is at present is a treaty, of course it is from 1967 – The 1967 Space Treaty which prevents nations from making territorial claims beyond Earth, but is that Earth’s orbit or Earth’s lands?
The law can be interpreted many ways. And in this time when there are companies who have business plans and ‘real’ plans to go up and mine asteroids, to open up the commercialization of near earth and possibly beyond, there are lawyers reviewing law and looking for the loop holes. As with the gold rush of 1848 there are plenty of people who want to extend the claim on Asteroids so that they too can make a buck. There is much risk involved in what these companies are ready to endure and perhaps it would be best to not only leave them to the spoils of a hard journey, but also see their bold motions as ones that benefit all society. The miners lead the charge West and perhaps it fitting that they lead it in our way toward the stars. Let the laws of the old west prevail, at least as far as Asteroids go. They are like boats found floating in International waters, finders keepers!
To give you an idea of approximate values; M-type asteroids typically hold per 10 feet of width about 5000 tons of extractable metals. That could include upwards of $10 million in platinum. Of course there are several other sorts of asteroids. Take the C-type where plenty of water can be held. Now you have something to generate fuel and oxygen with. Then there’s the S-Type - they hold SiO2, which can be used to release the O2 and then in the formation of processors, heat tiles, sand, glass, and other ceramic materials. Silicon Valley could lose out to Silicon Skies!