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U.S. Rep. Bill Posey this week introduced a bill that would establish property rights for future private asteroid missions.

The legislation is called the American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act of 2014.

Posey said the legislation introduced with Democrat Derek Kilmer of Washington State would promote private exploration and protect commercial rights.

"Asteroids are excellent potential sources of highly valuable resources and minerals," Posey, a member of the House Science, Space and Technology committee, said in a statement. "Our knowledge of asteroids — their number, location, and composition — has been increasing at a tremendous rate and space technology has advanced to the point where the private sector is now able to begin planning such expeditions."

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