The Lunar Outpost was awarded by the US space agency a contract to collect moon rocks and other samples for space research.
The contract took place on Thursday, which was among the four contracts awarded by NASA under the special budget-friendly project name ‘Low-cost Lunar Resource Collection Programme’.
Some of the other peaking bidders were ispace based in Tokyo and Masten Space Systems based in California along with the European Subsidiary.
In this new contract, NASA decided to pay the individual companies space research companies for collecting moon rock or moon regolith with a weight ranging from 50 grams to 500 grams.
A spokesman person for NASA said, “The companies will collect the samples and then provide us with visual evidence and other data that they’ve been collected,”.
In an interview with the CEO of the Lunar Outpost, Justin Cyrus said, “The plan is for the mission to take place in 2023, but we are working with several different lander companies, which could result in an earlier launch date,”.
A robotics firm of Colorado-based Lunar Outpost will be paid only $1 to collect rocks from the Lunar South pole.
The primary idea behind the projects is not to motivate with the fee but to allow the space research companies to practice extracting resources from the lunar surface and utilize them for scientific benefits.
Mr. Cyrus called this act “a paradigm shift in the way society thinks about space exploration”.
The company is having a talk with Blue Origin and several other companies which are planning on flying to the moon. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is also the founder of Blue Origins which is a space exploration firm.
Japan’s ispace will be paid $5,000 for the proposed project in 2022 in which their research will take place on the north-eastern near side of the Moon.
Space expert Sinead O’Sullivan said, “The nominal amount of even a dollar is an important precedent that Nasa is setting,”. She further added, “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,”.
The awards for the companies will be paid in three consecutive steps where 10% of the total will be paid at the time of award, 10% at the launching of the spacecraft, and the rest 80% when the collected material is tested by NASA.
Mr. Cyrus joked the matter and said, “Yes, the $1 will come in three tiny but important installments of $0.10, $0.10, and $0.80,”.
China has conducted its own space sample collection project with Chang’e-5 lunar spacecraft which is currently heading back to earth. The space agency’s announcement took place on Thursday right after the incident.
Glenda Bozeman – Business and Services
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