NASA announced the selections for which companies would be tasked with collecting lunar regolith and transferring ownership to NASA in place:
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. Overall, the new NASA contracts with these companies totals $25,001.
In terms of prices, that’s Masten at $15,000, the two ispace contracts at $5,000 each, and Lunar Outpost with a hilarious “One dollar, Bob” situation.
Because this program is more about setting precedent than actually generating useful science, technology, or infrastructure, in some ways I feel like this announcement alone is good enough, especially with 10% of the contracted price changing hands today.
It’s even more impactful that there are companies included from Luxembourg and Japan. The nations themselves aren’t a surprise, but the fact that this is more than just the US saying that this agreement is well within the legal framework of the Outer Space Treaty is important.