NASA wants these private companies to help it get to the moon

Elon Musk

Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, said NASA will buy the service and let private industry work out the details on getting to the moon.

Now, Musk's small stunt on the sets of Joe Rogan's show might have been harmful but that did not go down well on his resume for NASA. The companies will bid on contracts to deliver science and technology payloads to enable humans to travel back to the moon, and eventually on to Mars. CLPS is a multi-award contract worth $2.6 billion over the course of its 10 year performance period.

'Using these services, the agency will accelerate a robotic return to Moon, with upcoming missions targeted for two to three years earlier than previously planned, ' NASA has previously said.

Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos this week unveiled plans for the construction of lunar bases by 2040. "When we go to the moon, we want to be one customer of many customers in a robust marketplace between the Earth and the moon". The companies could also carry commercial cargo.

It's not yet clear what kind of instruments NASA hopes to send, though the first call for proposals should come out in the coming weeks or months.

Entrepreneurs have long dreamed of enterprises like mining the moon for precious metals and helium isotopes that could be fuel for future fusion reactors, but success has been elusive. But after several extensions, that competition ended quietly this year with none of the finalists even attempting a launch.

Bridenstine confirmed he has ordered a safety review of NASA's contractors SpaceX and Boeing after Musk smoked, but said that was always the plan.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment.

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Many Moon researchers were disappointed by the cancellation of the Resource Prospector mission - "I still am", Neal said. It is still unknown which company will develop the missiles to fly to the moon. The craft will be created to land on the moon, acquire soil samples, and return them to Earth.

In some ways, the NASA program is a revival of the Lunar X Prize. Astrobotic was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.

The nine companies already have not-quite-finished hardware.

Most of the teams said they would not be ready until 2021.

But at a gathering with reporters at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., yesterday (Nov. 29), Bridenstine said he himself got the wheels turning, according to The Atlantic's Marina Koren, who was there. "This is like a venture capital kind of effort where at the end of the day, the risk is high but the return is also very high for a low investment". Whenever they get to the moon, they may not be alone.

Nasa engineer and InSight project manager Tom Hoffman points to the first image upon a successful landing by the InSight spacecraft on the planet Mars from the Mission Support area in the Space Flight Operations facility at the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on November 26, 2018.

Artist's depiction of Masten's XL-1 lander on the surface of the Moon.

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