Our government is not only shortsighted in it's negotiations on space issues, it's downright anti-american. Sometimes it's hard to decide whose principles the State Department is defending. They certainly aren't those of our Founding Fathers.
About the only anti-property treaty this country hasn't ratified is the odious "Moon Treaty", written by our own State Department. If not for an alert group of citizens (L5 Society), the United States would have ratified this treaty under President Carter and embraced control of all the rest of creation by a World Government. Under "the common heritage of all mankind" space would be the heritage of no one. The vast wealth of resources and energy in our solar system would remain untapped instead of being explored by entrepreneurs who would improve the condition of all humanity. It's time this sick treaty is repudiated once and for all.
We must also demand a revision or understanding to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty so individual property rights are recognized. If there are no implimenting protocols for property rights within a specified time limit we should withdraw from the treaty entirely. In any case, we should immediately open a land office and accept claims of Americans to specific pieces of land, subject to occupancy within 15 years.
Back in the late 1950's a project called Orion seriously considered using small nuclear explosions to power a spacecraft. The lifting capacity would have been vast, measured in thousands of tons instead of the miniscule abilities of today's mightiest rockets. This brute-force approach was simple enough to be considered feasible 30 years ago. Unfortuneately, the idea was shelved by the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
If we truly wish to see the opening of the space frontier, we must not prevent businesses from working on futuristic ideas like fusion drives or matter-antimatter engines. Such technologies will one day open the solar system to commerce the way the clipper ship opened the oceans in the 19th century.
A time may also come when industrial nuclear explosives are needed in deep space for extraction of the vast wealth of resources inside comets and asteroids. Modification of the 1963 Test Ban Treaty and other understandings to clearly allow such non-military use of nuclear technology is in the best interests of all space-faring peoples.
But perhaps most basic of all, we should question why governments of 20th century Earth assume they have the right to make laws for unknown environments, at distances of millions of miles and a time decades or centuries in the future. If the arm of government can reach that far, freedom on Earth is precarious at best.