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Space & Astronomy

NASA will pay you up to $25,000 for lunar soil

September 12, 2020 | Comment icon 8 comments

There's money to be made from lunar soil. Image Credit: NASA/Dennis M. Davidson
The space agency has tasked private firms with the job of collecting and returning samples of soil from the Moon.
With the first manned mission to the lunar surface in over 50 years drawing ever closer, NASA is now focusing on developing the technologies needed to make it possible for future astronauts to live and work on the Moon on a long-term, sustainable basis.

To this end, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced on Thursday that the space agency would be actively purchasing samples of lunar soil from any commercial companies capable of actually recovering those materials from the lunar surface.

According to the announcement, the soil will be purchased for as much as $25,000 for 500 grams.

"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," the press release reads.

"After ownership transfer, the collected material becomes the sole property of NASA for our use."

In essence, this could prompt the first commercial mining operations to take place off-world.

"We do believe we can extract and utilize the resources of the moon, just as we can extract and utilize tuna from the ocean," said Bridenstine.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (8)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Seti42 1 year ago
I don't see this becoming a moon-mining venture, lol. I mean, 25K for a sample that cost multi-millions to get... This is more like throwing NASA a bone if you've already collected and returned to earth well over 500 grams of material for your own study.
Comment icon #2 Posted by XenoFish 1 year ago
I guess I need to build a very big slingshot. Gotta get the moon gold next weekend.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Wreck7 1 year ago
That comes out to about $50 a gram. They must be out of their minds.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Jon the frog 1 year ago
They clearly don't pay enough... some of them are already on the market and sell way more ! Maybe they just wan't new sample and the ones gifted by astronaut of the Apollo program or other missions don't count ? Even moon dust got stolen at NASA and got probably on the black market for the highest bidder...    
Comment icon #5 Posted by Peter B 1 year ago
Out of interest, can anyone point to where it actually says that's the price NASA will pay? I followed links from Bridenstine's tweet which eventually led to this government document and searched for "$25,000", but the references I found to that value always seemed to be related to something other than the price NASA would pay. As it's a 28 page long legal document perhaps someone might like to read it to confirm exactly what NASA is offering.
Comment icon #6 Posted by jethrofloyd 1 year ago
My selfie when I was the last time on the Moon and collected soil! 
Comment icon #7 Posted by mdbuilder 1 year ago
$25,000? Hang on a second, I'll be right back...
Comment icon #8 Posted by Bavarian Raven 1 year ago
I believe this is being done to set a legal precedent (aka mining materials in/from space)

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