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NASA wants to buy Moon rocks from private companies

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NASA is officially in the market for Moon rocks β€” and it’s willing to pay any company that’s capable of scooping them up.

Today, the space agency isΒ putting out a call for proposals from companies, challenging them to snag small samples of rocks on the Moon’s surface. The companies will have to prove that they have collected lunar samples in some kind of small container by sending pictures and data to NASA. If satisfied, NASA pledges to purchase the samples for between $15,000 and $25,000. Eventually, NASA will retrieve the rock samples and bring them back to Earth.

NASA ultimately wants the exchange to happen before 2024 β€” the agency’s current deadline for sending people back to the Moon. For companies that can pull this off, NASA will pay a small portion of the money when awarding the contract and during launch. The rest of the funds will be received when the sample is bagged. NASA says it may also make multiple awards to separate companies that can grab Moon rocks.

$25,000 may seem like a measly amount compared to the millions of dollars it takes to send any kind of spacecraft to the Moon. But the idea behind the offer is to make a small first step toward creating a lunar marketplace, normalizing the concept of buying materials that are excavated from the Moon and other worlds in the Solar System. Such a purchase would also be the first transaction of space resources to take place off-world.

Since 2015, it’s been official US policy that companies can own the materials that they can retrieve from space, thanks to a piece of legislation known as theΒ Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. The Trump administrationΒ further clarified this idea with an executive orderΒ earlier this year, encouraging companies and international partners to use the resources that they recover from space. And in May,Β NASA announced the creation of the Artemis Accords, a set of standardized guidelines for countries about how to explore the Moon and utilize its resources.

Source:Β NASA Wants to buy moon Rocks

Source:Β Perhaps because of this

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They need those rocks for the future Artemis mission to take some experiments to be ready for the Moon landing. And if there is an opportunity to use all the resources that can help for the mission - why not use them.

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