NASA wants to recruit private companies to help it collect space resources for cold, hard cash. And it is starting with a request for the dirt and rocks of the moon.
“Today, we are moving forward by issuing a solicitation to provide proposals for the collection of space resources for commercial companies,” NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstein said in a blog post published on Thursday. “When considering such proposals, we will require that all actions are taken in a transparent manner, in full compliance with the Registration Convention, Article II and other provisions of the Outer Space Treaty and all our other international obligations. We are practicing our policies to usher in a new era of discovery and discovery that will benefit all of humanity. “
Do not think of forging some moon dust in your own backyard in hopes of huge profits. In addition to sampling, NASA also requests that imagery be provided with a collection process, along with data that identifies its exact collection location. After the collection company transfers the ownership of the lunar regolith or rocks to NASA, Bridenstein writes that “the material collected becomes the sole property of NASA for our use.”
According to The Verge, NASA will pay between $ 15,000 and $ 25,000 for the rocks. This is a bit prohibitive if you plan to fund the necessary R&D and launch with the resulting paycheck from NASA. Still, for private space giants already launching, it may be worth considering. More importantly: it opens up the concept of a space marketplace, which can, potentially, result in a large number further down the line. (With billions of dollars of space resources to be cut from asteroids, this is only likely to be the beginning.)
The goal from NASA is for the recovery and transfer of ownership to be completed before 2024, when the space agency next aims to place humans on the moon. Solicitation is open to companies from all over the world, and NASA says it could award several if many players are willing to join it. The funds will be paid in three installments: 10% initially, another 10% at launch, and the remaining 80% after the mission is completed.