Nasa to pay company $1 to collect moon rocks





© Getty Images


Nasa is paying a company $1 to collect moon rocks after it was accepted as a winning bidder.

On Thursday Colorado-based Lunar Outpost was awarded a contract to collect moon dirt for the US space agency.

It is one of three contracts awarded by Nasa under its low-cost lunar resource collection programme.

The other winning bidders were California-based Masten Space Systems and Tokyo-based ispace.

Nasa will be paying the companies for individual collections of lunar regolith, or moon soil, between 50g and 500g in weight.

“The companies will collect the samples and then provide us with visual evidence and other data that they’ve been collected,” a spokesman for Nasa 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,” Lunar Outpost CEO Justin Cyrus told the BBC.

Lunar

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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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NASA will pay a company $1 to collect moon rocks

A photo of the moon taken by SpaceIL’s Beresheet spacecraft in orbit.

SpaceIL

NASA will pay an amazingly low price – a dollar – to have a company make a single small collection of moon dirt on the agency’s behalf.

Colorado-based start-up Lunar Outpost bid $1 and won a NASA contract to complete a mission under the agency’s low-cost lunar resource collection program announced earlier this year.

NASA wants to pay companies for individual collections of lunar regolith, or Moon soil, between 50 grams and 500 grams. The agency explicitly outlined it is only paying companies to collect material and say where NASA can find it on the moon’s surface – not to develop the spacecraft or return the regolith to Earth.

Lunar Outpost is one of the three companies that NASA selected on Thursday as winning bidders. The other two winners were California-based Masten Space Systems, which proposed a

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NASA agrees to purchase moon rocks for $1

Blue Moon cargo lander
An artist’s conception shows the uncrewed cargo version of Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lunar lander. (Blue Origin Illustration)

NASA has selected four companies to collect material on the moon and store it up as the space agency’s property, for a total price of $25,001. And one deal stands out: a $1 purchase that may rely on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture.

Although this sounds like the sort of deal Amazon might have offered on Cyber Monday, neither Seattle-based Amazon nor Kent, Wash.-based Blue Origin is directly involved in the purchase. Instead, NASA accepted a $1 offer from Colorado-based Lunar Outpost, based on the expectation that the venture can set aside a sample on the moon for the space agency.

“They propose collecting the lunar material for one dollar — that’s right, one-point-zero-zero dollars —  following the arrival of the Blue Moon lander to the south pole in

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Chinese spacecraft carrying lunar rocks lifts off from moon

Chinese moon probe begins return to Earth with lunar samples
This image taken by panoramic camera aboard the lander-ascender combination of Chang’e-5 spacecraft provided by China National Space Administration shows a moon surface after it landed on the moon on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. Chinese government say the spacecraft landed on the moon on Tuesday to bring back lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua via AP)

A Chinese spacecraft lifted off from the moon Thursday night with a load of lunar rocks, the first stage of its return to Earth, the government space agency reported.


Chang’e 5, the third Chinese spacecraft to land on the moon and the first to take off from it again, is the latest in a series of increasingly ambitious missions for Beijing’s space program, which also has a orbiter and rover headed to Mars.

The Chang’e 5 touched down Tuesday on the Sea of Storms on

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NASA names companies that will mine moon

“You’d be surprised at what a dollar can buy you in space,” Mike Gold, NASA’s acting associate administrator for international and interagency relations, said in a call with reporters.

But the modest financial incentives are not the driver of the program. Nor to a large extent is the actual lunar soil. NASA is only asking for small amounts—between 50 to 500 grams (or 1.7 ounces to about 17 ounces). While there would be scientific benefits to the mission, it’s really a technology development program, allowing companies to practice extracting resources from the lunar surface and then selling them.

It would also establish a legal precedent that would pave the way for companies to mine celestial bodies in an effort blessed by the United States government to help build a sustainable presence on the moon and elsewhere.

To do that, NASA says it needs its astronauts, like the western pioneers, to

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China collects moon samples to study on Earth

“Chang’e has collected moon samples,” the agency said in a statement.

The probe, launched November 24 from the island of Hainan, is the latest venture by the space program that sent China’s first astronaut into orbit in 2003. Beijing also has a spacecraft headed to Mars and aims to land a human on the moon.

This week’s landing is “a historic step in China’s cooperation with the international community in the peaceful use of outer space,” said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

“China will continue to promote international cooperation and the exploration and use of outer space in the spirit of working for the benefit of all mankind,” Hua said.

Plans call for the lander to spend two days drilling into the lunar surface and collecting 4.4 pounds of rocks and debris. The top stage of the probe will be launched back into lunar orbit to transfer the samples to

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Moon probe preparing to return rock samples to Earth

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Watch China spacecraft land on the moon in this amazing video

A spectacular video from China’s Chang’e 5 lander spacecraft revealsits successful touchdown on the moon as it  softly set down to collect the first lunar samples in 44 years.



China's Chang'e 5 moon lander captures these views of its descent to the lunar surface on Dec. 1, 2020.


© Provided by Live Science
China’s Chang’e 5 moon lander captures these views of its descent to the lunar surface on Dec. 1, 2020.

The 49-second, sped-up video was captured by a camera underneath the Chang’e 5 lander as it passed over the vast Oceanus Procellarum (“Ocean of Storms”) while aiming for a safe landing site on Tuesday  (Dec. 1). The black-and-white footage shows peaks on the horizon before the spacecraft moves into a vertical position to begin its powered descent onto the surface. Another video, released by China’s CCTV news network, shows Chang’e 5’s sample-collection arm drilling into the lunar surface as it collected samples. (We combined them into one in the video above.)

In pictures: China on the moon!

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180-Foot Asteroid Will Come Extremely Close To Earth Thursday, Will Be Closer Than Moon

KEY POINTS

  • A 180-foot asteroid called 2020 VZ6 will be zipping by Earth Thursday
  • The asteroid will be closer to the planet than the moon at one point during its flyby
  • The space rock has not been included in the European Space Agency’s Risk List

A 180-foot asteroid will be zipping by Earth at a very close distance this week, according to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

A near-Earth asteroid (NEA) called 2020 VZ6 is currently making its way toward Earth’s vicinity and is set to make its closest approach to the planet Thursday. With a diameter reaching 180 feet (55 meters), this asteroid is estimated to be as tall as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. The freestanding bell tower has a height of about 185 feet (56 meters).

The NEA’s size isn’t the most interesting part about it. 2020 VZ6, according to the CNEOS’ close

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