Details of the plan were by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who said the agency was working "aggressively" toward meeting its near-term goal of landing the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024.
The space agency is now taking the calls from the companies. NASA, aiming to send the first female astronaut to the lunar surface in 2024, has made a decision to set a price between 15 and 25 thousand dollars for the samples in question.
In a separate event hosted by space policy organisation Secure World Foundation, Mr Bridenstine said that the "bottom line" was that Nasa was going to buy some lunar soil for the objective of "demonstrating it could be done", Reuters reported.
NASA aims to promote the extraction and trade of moon resources. Companies would be paid 20% in advance, 10% at the time of award and 10% at launch. The remaining 80% will be given upon delivery of collected samples. This is also open to companies internationally, so it's not just for US private space companies, and it's also possible that NASA will make more than one award under the program. NASA said it views the mined resources as the property of the company, and the materials would become "the sole property of NASA" after purchase.
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - FEBRUARY 07: Clouds are seen behind the NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center February 7, 2008 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. It's worth noting that this is separate from NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, which offers contracts for transporting experiments to the lunar surface aboard landers - but you can bet some of those startups and companies will be vying for the chance to use said landers and robotic rovers in development to pick up some Moon dirt for NASA. Now, the space agency aims to have the same deals for dirt collection.
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 major space treaties are vague on the question. "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", Bridenstine explained in his blog.
Bridenstine also noted that President Donald Trump'sexecutive order on fostering global support on the use and recovery of space resources between public and commercial companies in accordance with existing laws. 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.