Currently, NASA has a program to contract companies, such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada Corp and Lockheed Martin to fly science experiments and cargo to the moon ahead of a human landing.
NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, announced on Thursday that the company is looking for a private company to get to the Moon and obtain dust and rock samples from its surface as part of a technology development program that would help astronauts “live off the land” for manned missions in the future.
The space administration is ready to purchase these samples in amounts between 50 to 500 grams for between $15,000 to $25,000.
The material purchase is part of NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program aimed at landing US astronauts on the Moon by 2024.
According to Bridenstine, the purchase programme complies with the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 that stipulates that no country would lay sovereign claim to the Moon or other celestial body.
Earlier this year, NASA unveiled its Artemis Accords legal framework that governs the behavior of countries and companies in the space and on the Moon, in particular.
The framework stipulates the creation of safety zones around sites of exploration and mining.