The US space agency NASA has been pushing for private players to enter the space exploration programs. The agency has just announced that it will pay private companies for collecting dirt or rock samples of the Moon. As per the NASA promise, it will pay USD 15,000 to USD 25,000 to companies for each lunar sample they collect on Moon’s surface. NASA said that the private firms will require proving that they have collected the lunar dust or rock samples. The agency said that companies could send pictures and location data to support their claim. NASA scientists will then satisfy themselves and will retrieve the samples. The samples will be brought back to the Earth for further study.
NASA said that it wants companies to collect around 50 to 500 grams of lunar samples and transfer its ownership to the agency. NASA said that it will release 10 percent of the amount after the signing of the contract. Another 10 percent will be paid to the participating companies after the launch of spacecraft. NASA wants this to happen before 2024. The agency has set a target of landing people on the lunar surface by 2024. The outcomes of the studies will help NASA to design its Artemis program more constructively for better results. The Artemis mission includes sending the first woman and the next man on the South Pole region of the Moon by 2024.
NASA has asked companies to share their proposals. Companies outside the United States can also participate. NASA’s statement confirmed that it is ready to work with foreign companies. NASA had already collected moon rocks during its Apollo missions. Its astronauts had brought back lunar material in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Scientists believe that lunar samples can lead to some big space discoveries and determine future missions’ results. Besides Moon, NASA is working on several other projects simultaneously. These include sending humans deep into the space and bringing back Mars’ soil samples to Earth.