NASA to buy moon dust from private companies
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States has contracted with four private companies to collect and then transfer samples of residual lunar soil.
In total, the American space agency will spend only $ 25001 on the purchase of the regolith. At the same time, Lunar Outpost of Golden will sell moon dust for only $ 1, two ispace divisions – $ 5 thousand each, and Masten Space Systems will earn the most, having received $ 15 thousand. Their missions to collect samples are scheduled for 2022-2023.
After the companies extract a small amount of the regolith and provide NASA with a photo, the ownership will immediately pass to the customer. Although the 1967 space agreement says that outer space «cannot be nationalized or appropriated in any way.
The space agency plans to use the purchased samples for research as part of the Artemis program, which provides for the creation of a lunar scientific station by 2024.
Despite the insignificant amount and volume of supplies, the precedent for the purchase of resources collected outside the Earth will be an important factor for the development of the space mining industry. At the same time, the lunar program will lay the foundation for further research on Mars..
As part of the Artemis program, the agency also funded the rollout of a 4G network on the lunar surface..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: NASA