The US space agency this week launched a call for an unprecedented tender for private companies to take samples of lunar rocks and bring them to Earth.
“NASA seeks to buy lunar soil from commercial suppliers,” tweeted the administrator of the NASA, Jim Bridenstine, according to an AFP cable.
The United States intends to lead in the future the exploitation of resources, mainly mining, found in the soil or subsoil of asteroids and the Moon, within the framework of a policy encouraged by President Donald Trump.
The US president issued a decree in this regard in April, despite the absence of international consensus and jurisprudence on how to manage and share extraterrestrial resources.
Existing space treaties are vague when it comes to determining the exploitation of resources outside the Earth. Now, NASA invites companies to submit their proposals to extract “small” samples of moonstones or dust that covers the surface of the satellite.
The samples would later become the property of NASA, which would be the “sole” owner of the material. 80% of the amount established in the contract will be paid against the delivery of the samples.
This call for offers is part of a new economic model that is beginning to gain strength in the US space agency and that consists of outsourcing the development and operation of missions through contracts with private space companies.
Along these lines, NASA signed an agreement with SpaceX, which is responsible for the transportation of cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
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(FIN) AFP / HML / MAM