NASA Buying Moon Dust For $1

The US space agency NASA awarded contracts to four companies on Thursday to collect lunar samples for $1 to $15,000, rock-bottom prices that are intended to set a precedent for future exploitation of space resources by the private sector.

“I think it’s kind of amazing that we can buy lunar regolith from four companies for a total of $25,001,” said Phil McAlister, director of NASA’s Commercial Spaceflight Division.

The contracts are with Lunar Outpost of Golden, Colorado for $1; ispace Japan of Tokyo for $5,000; ispace Europe of Luxembourg for $5,000; and Masten Space Systems of Mojave, California for $15,000.

The companies plan to carry out the collection during already scheduled unmanned missions to the Moon in 2022 and 2023.

The firms are to collect a small amount of lunar soil known as regolith from the Moon and to provide imagery to NASA of the collection and the collected material.

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Japan Space Probe To Bring Asteroid Dust To Earth

Call it a special delivery: after six years in space, Japan’s Hayabusa-2 probe is heading home, but only to drop off its rare asteroid samples before starting a new mission.

The fridge-sized probe, launched in December 2014, has already thrilled scientists by landing on and gathering material from an asteroid some 300 million kilometres (185 million miles) from Earth.

Hayabusa-2 will near Earth to drop off rare asteroid samples before heading back into deep space on a new extended mission Hayabusa-2 will near Earth to drop off rare asteroid samples before heading back into deep space on a new extended mission Photo: AFP / Behrouz MEHRI

But its work isn’t over yet, with scientists from Japan’s space agency JAXA now planning to extend its mission for more than a decade and targeting two new asteroids.

Before that mission can begin, Hayabusa-2 needs to drop off its precious samples from the asteroid Ryugu — “dragon palace” in Japanese.

Scientists are hoping the capsule will contain around 0.1 grams of material that will

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Is Arctic warming behind a monster Saharan dust storm?

dust storm
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The Sahara Desert is the world’s biggest source of dust and in 2020, it broke the June record for sending the largest and thickest dust cloud toward the Americas.


Amato Evan, an atmospheric scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and colleagues have broken down the conditions that led to what some researchers call the “Godzilla” dust storm of 2020.

The June 2020 dust storm set records in terms of its geographic size and its aerosol optical depth—essentially a measure of its thickness determined by the ability of satellites to see through it. It reached an altitude of 6,000 meters (19,600 feet). In certain locations over the Atlantic Ocean, its thickness was double what had ever been recorded during the month of June during the history of the satellite record, which dates back to 1995.

The researchers analyzed what made it happen in

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Law firm claims stake in tape strips used to lift moon dust off Apollo 11 sample bag

A Kansas City law firm has filed suit over what it claims is its financial stake in five small strips of possibly-moon-dust-stained carbon tape, extending an already complicated — and, at times, convoluted — legal saga that has surrounded a white zippered pouch that was used on the first moon landing mission 51 years ago.

The defendant, an Illinois real estate attorney who sold the Apollo 11 lunar sample return bag for $1.8 million, succinctly characterized the situation in the first line of a court filing with regard to the law firm of Wyrsch Hobbs Mirakian (WHM) and its attempt to enforce a lien on the tape strips.

“The story underlying this matter and other related litigated matters is long,” the attorneys for Nancy Lee Carlson wrote in a motion that was filed with the District Court of Kansas in March.

Lunar legacy: 45 Apollo moon mission photos

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Global Streaming Giants Blow Dust Off Mideast Music Business

The Arab music industry — plagued by rampant piracy, free YouTube clips and dated channels — is the new target for global streaming giants intent on bringing the outmoded business into the digital era.

After their successes in Europe and the Americas, online platforms are looking to invest in emerging markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and capture their large populations of hyper-connected youth.

In a region plagued by political turmoil and economic crises, streaming giant Spotify is hoping to blow the dust off a Mideast business that has failed to keep up in a world of paid-for digital content.

“We arrived with a fully Arabic service, localised playlists and a local team,” Claudius Boller, Spotify’s Middle East and Africa managing director, told AFP.

“We are only just getting started.”

Global streaming revenues grew by 22.9 percent to $11.4 billion in 2019, accounting for more than half

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Dust travelled thousands of miles to enrich Hawaiian soils

hawaii
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

With its warm weather and sandy beaches, Hawaii is a magnet for tourists every year. This unique ecosystem also attracts soil scientists interested in what surprises may lie beneath their feet.


In a recent paper published in Geoderma, European researchers outline how they used the rich soils of Hawaii to study the critical movement of phosphorous through the environment. By better understanding the amount and type of phosphorus in the soil, they can help crops become more successful and maintain the health of our ecosystems for years to come.

The project was led by Agroscope scientist Dr. Julian Helfenstein, Prof. Emmanuel Frossard with the Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich; and Dr. Christian Vogel, a researcher at the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing in Berlin.

The team used the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan to help analyze the different types

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Abrasive Lunar Dust Threatens Long-Duration Moon Missions

When astronauts return to the moon, the European Space Agency wants more protection against the sharp lunar dust that was so difficult for the NASA Apollo astronauts of the 1960s and 1970s.

After walking on the moon in 1969, for example, Apollo 12 astronaut Pete Conrad said one of the worst problems his crew faced was dust. He called it “one of the most aggravating, restricting facets of lunar surface exploration” due to its “restrictive friction-like action to everything it gets on.”

And it wasn’t just spacesuits that got affected by the dust. China’s Yutu-1 rover came to a standstill after a couple of months on the moon, and most scientists agree it was likely dust that caused the problem. The dust has a nasty tendency to stick in

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NASA Works To Head Off Losing Too Much Osiris-Rex Asteroid Dust

NASA said Friday that its robotic spacecraft Osiris-Rex had succeeded in collecting a large sample of particles from the Bennu asteroid this week — but so much that it was leaking.

The team in charge of the probe is now working to quickly stow the remaining samples that would eventually be delivered back to Earth to provide key scientific insights.

“A substantial fraction of the required collected mass is seen escaping,” mission chief Dante Lauretta said in a phone briefing with journalists.

This NASA frame grab from a gif series captured by Osiris-Rex's camera on October 22, 2020 shows the sampler head on the spacecraft full of rocks and dust collected from the surface of the asteroid Bennu This NASA frame grab from a gif series captured by Osiris-Rex’s camera on October 22, 2020 shows the sampler head on the spacecraft full of rocks and dust collected from the surface of the asteroid Bennu Photo: NASA / Handout

Osiris-Rex is set to come home in September 2023, hopefully with the largest sample returned from space since the Apollo era, which will help unravel the origins of

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Are the Great Plains Headed for Another Dust Bowl? | Smart News

A new study shows dust storms have become more common and more severe on the Great Plains, leading some to wonder if the United States is headed for another Dust Bowl, reports Roland Pease for Science. With nearly half the country currently in drought and a winter forecast predicting continued dry weather for many of the afflicted regions, dust storms could become an even bigger threat.

In the 1930s, the Dust Bowl was caused by years of severe drought and featured dust storms up to 1,000 miles long. But the other driving force behind the plumes of dust that ravaged the landscape was the conversion of prairie to agricultural fields on a massive scale—between 1925 and the early 1930s, farmers converted 5.2 million acres of grassland over to farming, reported Sarah Zielinski for Smithsonian magazine in 2012.

Hardy prairie grasses would have likely withstood the drought, but crops covering

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NASA video shows Osiris-Rex probe landing on asteroid, kicking up dust

  • NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft landed on an asteroid to suck up a sample of rock and dust on Tuesday.
  • New video footage shows the tricky operation, including the six seconds that it touched the asteroid’s surface and blew nitrogen gas to send up a flurry of alien rock.
  • Mission controllers must now determine if the spacecraft obtained enough sample to bring back to Earth.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

NASA landed a spacecraft on an asteroid 200 million miles away on Tuesday.

New footage shows its tricky six seconds of contact and the flurry of alien rock that the probe sent flying in order to suck up a sample.

The mission, called Osiris-Rex, aims to return a sample of the asteroid to Earth. But landing on the asteroid, called Bennu, was no small feat. The terrain turned out to be much rockier than researchers expected, with Bennu covered in

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