The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says it will pay up to $25,000 for lunar rocks from a company that will help mine the moon for resources.
In a tweet, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said that the agency is "buying lunar soil from a commercial provider! It’s time to establish the regulatory certainty to extract and trade space resources."
NEWS: @NASA is buying lunar soil from a commercial provider! It’s time to establish the regulatory certainty to extract and trade space resources. More: https://t.co/B1F5bS6pEy pic.twitter.com/oWuGHnB8ev
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) September 10, 2020
The agency said the companies could be based out of anywhere, not just the U.S.
"The requirements we’ve outlined are that a company will collect a small amount of Moon “dirt” or rocks from any location on the lunar surface, provide imagery to NASA of the collection and the collected material, along with data that identifies the collection location, and conduct an “in-place” transfer of ownership of the lunar regolith or rocks to NASA," Bridenstine said in a blog post. "After ownership transfer, the collected material becomes the sole property of NASA for our use."
NASA says the program will help ensure safe and sustainable lunar exploration to the moon and eventually to Mars.
The agency says they are working aggressively to landing the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024.