December 4 that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) selected a private company through a tender and asked it to collect lunar samples on its behalf. The remuneration was $1.
The US Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) reported on the 3rd that the US start-up “Moon Frontier” offered $1 to win a contract to collect lunar samples for NASA. This is one of the four contracts signed by NASA for the low-cost lunar resource acquisition project. NASA announced the project earlier this year.
The winning bidders for the other three contracts are the American Marsten Aerospace Systems Company, the Japanese ispace Company and its European branches.
These companies will collect lunar surface soil for NASA, weighing between 50 grams and 500 grams.
A NASA spokesperson said at a press conference: “These companies will collect samples and provide us with the visual evidence and other data they collect.”
Justin Cyrus, CEO of Lunar Outpost, told the BBC reporter: “The mission schedule is set for 2023, but we are working with different lander companies, so the launch date may be advanced.”
The Lunar Outpost Company’s main robot, headquartered in Colorado, will be responsible for collecting samples from the South Pole of the Moon, in order to get a $1 payment.
It’s not money
For these companies involved in collecting lunar samples, making money is not their motivation. What they fancy is that this task will allow private companies to extract resources from the lunar surface.
Cyrus called this mission a “paradigm shift,” changing the way society thinks about space exploration.
Aerospace expert Sinide O’Sullivan said: “This symbolic dollar is an important precedent set by NASA.”
O’Sullivan said that the innovation of NASA’s move is to “build commercial and legal norms” to create a market with buyers and sellers outside the earth.
CNBC reported that NASA has received bids from at least 16 companies, several of which have submitted multiple bids. NASA refused to name the companies that did not win the bid.