One thing I've been thinking about lately is whether something similar to the Homestead Act could end up applying to outer space in the future. For those who aren't familiar, the Homestead Act guaranteed tracts of public land to homesteaders who agreed to live there any improve upon it. Of course, most celestial bodies may not be under the jurisdiction of Terran nations, but there are still ways this could work.
Perhaps some future governments could have policies wherein they could grant their citizens ownership of asteroids and comets up to a certain size, provided they agree to live there and do something useful with the asteroid or comet. They might even cover the cost of transport to the asteroid. As I said, such small celestial bodies aren't likely to be government land, except in unusual circumstances, so there wouldn't be any law preventing randos from grabbing territory without observing any of the agreement's conditions. But in that case, it wouldn't be recognized as their private property, so the government wouldn't defend it from claim jumpers and the like.
Like the original homestead act, that would encourage a nation's citizens to settle large volumes of space, giving the nation a better foothold there. Profits from mining might also be taxed, allowing nations to recover the cost of transport/protection.
Does any of this make sense?