NASA has procured the bragging rights over the samples that four companies bring to their attention from the moon. The agency signed the agreements with these companies that implores the companies to hand over the samples they excavate from the moon in their expedition to the celestial body. The agency executives explained that this mission would mark the level of man’s exploration beyond the Earth. Mike Gold of NASA’s international and interagency relations stated that they are evaluating commercial space companies’ potential in obtaining samples from celestial bodies in space before the agency purchases them and utilizes them to generate new knowledge concerning the emergence of the planets. Nevertheless, the agency has been adamant about divulging more details on whether it would recover the materials and utilize them for research on Earth or elsewhere.
The four companies inducted into this project are Colorado-based Lunar Outpost, Masten Space Systems of Mojave, ispace Japan of Tokyo, and ispace Europe of Luxembourg. Since NASA declared that these companies have received low funding, it would be paying for the samples obtained alone and not the cost of obtaining them from their location. Three companies in this project have vowed to retrieve the samples from the moon’s south pole region in the next three years. NASA revealed that the samples obtained will be weighing from 50 to 500 grams. The companies have been advised to deliver photographic evidence of where they gathered the samples and the images of the samples to prevent fraudster activities. After confirming the truth of the data presented, NASA has told the four companies to admit that they are transferring ownership of the samples to NASA according to the agreement they signed.
The agency explained that the materials obtained would help it plan for the Artemis program mission effectively. The Artemis program plans on sending two astronauts to navigate the south pole of the moon in the next four years, followed by a large number in eight years. These contracts aim to create a strong connection between NASA and the private space industry stakeholders that will shape their future performance. NASA is also developing the Artemis Accords that will inform the exploration of the moon by a set of countries partnering or contributing to this mission.
NASA reiterated that all the activities involving the Artemis program are in line with the regulations developed by the international community. Additionally, the agency stated that the mission is open to receive willing partners who want to explore the moon.