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  Exploration: Asteroids, Moon and Mars
  NASA to buy moon rocks and lunar regolith

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Author Topic:   NASA to buy moon rocks and lunar regolith
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 45155
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-10-2020 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine release
Space Resources are the Key to Safe and Sustainable Lunar Exploration

As we at NASA are working aggressively to meet our near-term goal of landing the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, our Artemis program also is focused on taking steps that will establish a safe and sustainable lunar exploration architecture.

Moreover, leveraging commercial involvement as part of Artemis will enhance our ability to safely return to the Moon in a sustainable, innovative, and affordable fashion. The President's Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources clarifies Congress' intent clarifies that it is the policy of the United States to encourage international support for the public and private recovery and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law. We know a supportive policy regarding the recovery and use of space resources is important to the creation of a stable and predictable investment environment for commercial space innovators and entrepreneurs.

Today, we're taking a critical step forward by releasing a solicitation for commercial companies to provide proposals for the collection of space resources. When considering such proposals, we will require that all actions be taken in a transparent fashion, in full compliance with the Registration Convention, Article II and other provisions of the Outer Space Treaty, and all of our other international obligations. We are putting our policies into practice to fuel a new era of exploration and discovery that will benefit all of humanity.

The requirements we've outlined are that a company will collect a small amount of Moon "dirt" or rocks from any location on the lunar surface, provide imagery to NASA of the collection and the collected material, along with data that identifies the collection location, and conduct an "in-place" transfer of ownership of the lunar regolith or rocks to NASA. After ownership transfer, the collected material becomes the sole property of NASA for our use.

NASA's goal is that the retrieval and transfer of ownership will be completed before 2024. The solicitation creates a full and open competition, not limited to U.S. companies, and the agency may make one or more awards. NASA's payment is exclusively for the lunar regolith, with any awardee receiving 10 percent at award, 10 percent upon launch, and the remaining 80 percent upon successful completion. The agency will determine retrieval methods for the transferred lunar regolith at a later date.

Next-generation lunar science and technology is a main objective for returning to the Moon and preparing for Mars. Over the next decade, the Artemis program will lay the foundation for a sustained long-term presence on the lunar surface and use the Moon to validate deep space systems and operations before embarking on the much farther voyage to Mars. The ability to conduct in-situ resources utilization (ISRU) will be incredibly important on Mars, which is why we must proceed with alacrity to develop techniques and gain experience with ISRU on the surface of the Moon.

The scientific discoveries gained through robust, sustainable, and safe lunar exploration will benefit all of humanity. By continuing to publicly release our data, NASA will ensure the whole world joins us and benefits from the Artemis journey.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 4711
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-10-2020 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fertile "grounds" for the space law/property right lawyers to step in, litigate and establish legal precedent.

SkyMan1958
Member

Posts: 949
From: CA.
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 09-10-2020 04:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suspect that is why it is open to international participants. If either a Russian or a Chinese company stepped forward to receive the prize, that would put a hook into those countries negotiating stances with regards to Space Based Resources.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 45155
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-03-2020 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Selects Companies to Collect Lunar Resources for Artemis Demonstrations

NASA has selected four companies to collect space resources and transfer ownership to the agency: Lunar Outpost of Golden, Colorado; Masten Space Systems of Mojave, California; ispace Europe of Luxembourg; and ispace Japan of Tokyo. Overall, the new NASA contracts with these companies totals $25,001.

Space resources will play a key role in NASA's Artemis program and future space exploration. The ability to extract and use extraterrestrial resources will ensure Artemis operations can be conducted safely and sustainably in support of establishing human lunar exploration. Moreover, in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) will play a vital role in a future human mission to Mars. Like many other operations, ISRU activities will be tested and developed on the Moon, building the required knowledge to implement new capabilities that will be necessary to overcome the challenges of a human mission to Mars.

"These awards expand NASA's innovative use of public-private partnerships to the Moon. We're excited to join with our commercial and international partners to make Artemis the largest and most diverse global human space exploration coalition in history," said Mike Gold, NASA's acting associate administrator for international and interagency relations. "Space resources are the fuel that will propel America and all of humanity to the stars."

A great deal of work remains to be done to develop robust ISRU capabilities. Both robotic and human explorers will test new technologies and techniques.

"Leveraging commercial involvement enhances our ability to safely return to the Moon in a sustainable, innovative, and affordable fashion," said Phil McAlister, director of Commercial Spaceflight Development at NASA Headquarters. "A supportive policy for the recovery and use of space resources provides a stable and predictable investment environment for commercial space innovators and entrepreneurs."

Companies will collect a small amount of lunar regolith from any location on the Moon and provide imagery to NASA of the collection and the collected material, along with data that identifies the collection location. Subsequent to receiving such imagery and data, an "in-place" transfer of ownership of the lunar regolith to NASA will take place. After ownership transfer, the collected material becomes the sole property of NASA for the agency's use under the Artemis program.

NASA solicited fixed price quotes using simplified acquisition procedures and selected companies using the "low-priced, technically acceptable" selection method. The agency evaluated quotes and assigned a pass-fail rating based on their ability to satisfactorily meet the requirements of the solicitation. Companies were then selected from the acceptable proposals, in accordance with the agency's available budget, starting with the lowest-priced proposals. Details about the selection are:

  • Lunar Outpost proposed collection for $1 following arrival of a lander to the lunar South Pole in 2023.

  • ispace Japan proposed collection for $5,000 following arrival in 2022 of a lander to Lacus Somniorum on the Moon's northeastern near side.

  • ispace Europe proposed collection for $5,000 following arrival in 2023 of a lander to the lunar South Pole.

  • Masten Space Systems proposed collection for $15,000 following arrival in 2023 of a lander to the lunar South Pole.
Companies will receive 10% of their total proposed price upon award, will receive 10% upon launch, and the remaining 80% upon successful completion. NASA's payment is exclusively for the lunar regolith. The agency will determine retrieval methods for the transferred lunar regolith at a later date.

Companies must take all actions to perform the contracts in full compliance with the Registration Convention, Article II, and other provisions of the Outer Space Treaty, as well as in accordance with NASA's other relevant international obligations. NASA will continue to publicly release data and scientific discoveries gained through safe and sustainable lunar exploration to benefit all of humanity.

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