NASA An attempt to pay companies to mine resources on the moon began Thursday, with the U.S. space agency announcing it will buy rocks, dust and other lunar materials from them as the private sector seeks to extract respectable global resources for its use.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein announced in a blog post that the plans would not violate the 1967 agreement, which excluded national claims of celestial objects and space ownership.
NASA aims to target companies that plan to send robots to mine lunar resources, establish what are known as “rules of conduct” in the Breinstein spacecraft, and allow private mining on the moon in ways that could help maintain future astronaut missions. NASA said it would view the excavated resources as the company’s assets, and would become “NASA’s sole assets” after the materials were purchased.
Under NASA’s Artemis program, the administration of US President Donald Trump has urged American astronauts to return to the moon by 2024. NASA has laid the groundwork for the first human voyage to Mars in the future.
“The bottom line is that we’m going to buy some lunar clay, which proves it can be done,” Bridenstein said at an event hosted by the Secure World Foundation, a space policy organization.
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Bridenstein says NASA will eventually buy more resources, such as ice and other materials found on the moon.
NASA set the stage in May for a global discussion on the basic principles of how people live and work on the moon, releasing its core theories of what it hopes to become an international treaty for lunar exploration known as the Artemis Accords. This allows companies to acquire mine lunar resources, which are crucial in allowing NASA contractors to build lunar water ice rocket fuel or landing pads for lunar minerals.
According to the initiative revealed on Thursday, NASA has stepped in to buy limited lunar resources and asked companies to submit proposals. Under contracts that change according to regulations, a company that mines on the moon collects lunar rocks or dust to sell to NASA without bringing the resources back to Earth.
“This is a small step for space resources, but a big step forward for policy and foresight,” NASA Chief of International Relations Mike Gold told Reuters.
“They pay the company to sell a stone that belongs to the company. It’s a product,” said Joan Gabrinovich, former editor – in – chief of the Journal of Space Law.