$1 for collecting moon rocks: NASA awards contract for bringing lunar samples

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Dec 04, 2020, 12.51 PM(IST)

NASA's moon mission Photograph:( AFP )

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The contract was part of NASA's low-cost lunar resource collection programme

An amount of just one dollar will be given by NASA to various private space companies to collect rocks from the Moon. 

On Thursday, Lunar Outpost was given the contract to collect samples for NASA. 

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The contract was part of NASA's low-cost lunar resource collection programme for which four contracts will be awarded.

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California-based Masten Space Systems and Tokyo-based ispace, and its European subsidiary are the other organisations that won the contract. 

The US space agency will be paying for collections of lunar regolith, or moon soil, between 50 and 500 grams in weight, as reported by The BBC. 

"The companies will collect the samples and then provide us with visual evidence and other data that they've been collected," a NASA spokesperson said. 

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Lunar Outpost CEO Justin Cyrus told the BBC said that the contract is for a 2023 mission, but they are in talks with different lander companies, that may lead to an earlier launch date.  

The company will be paid one dollar for bringing moon rocks from the lunar South Pole. 

Interestingly, the amount of one dollar will also be paid in instalments, which is divided into 10 per cent when the contract is awarded, further 10 per cent when the spacecraft is launched for the project and remaining 80 per cent when the NASA verifies the rocks. 

However, the nominal amount is not the motivation behind this program for companies. 

The mission opens the door of extracting resources outside the earth. 

"The innovation here is not of financial value but of creating business and legal norms of creating a market of buyers and sellers outside of Earth's constraints," said Sinead O'Sullivan, a space expert.

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