ESA Lands on Comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenatko

The European Space Agency (ESA) has conducted the first-ever soft landing of a manmade object on a comet today. The ESA's Philae probe, the culmination of its Rosetta mission, landed on Comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenatko at approximately 11:05 AM Eastern time, on November 12, 2014. To put the achievement in perspective, the ESA were able to land a probe the size of a washing machine, intact, on a comet 2.5 miles long on its longest axis and moving at a speed of over 34,000 miles per hour.

Not a particularly significant moment for the present business-legal environment, but this mission has profound implications for the development of business operations (and thus the future of business law) as humans expand into, and begin to economically exploit, space. The ability to land on and mine outer-space bodies such as asteroids and comets, which would provide access to vast resources in the form of metals, volatiles and, most importantly, water, is considered to be vital to humanity's expansion into space, as well as profitable growth industries feasible with near-future technology.