NASA Selects Companies to Collect Lunar Resources for Artemis Demonstrations

Credit:  NASA.

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. The new NASA contracts with these companies total $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.

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

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 occur. After ownership transfer, the collected material becomes the sole property of NASA for the agency’s use under the Artemis program.

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 the safe and sustainable lunar exploration to benefit all of humanity.

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