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NASA sets out to buy moon resources mined by private companies

Washington: NASA has launched an effort to pay companies to mine resources on the moon, announcing it would buy from them rocks, dirt and other materials as it seeks to spur private extraction of coveted off-world resources for its use.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote on Thursday, local time, in a blog post accompanying the announcement that the plans would not violate a 1967 treaty that holds that celestial bodies and space are exempt from national claims of ownership.

A crater on the Moon's surface pictured in 1969.

A crater on the Moon’s surface pictured in 1969.Credit:NASA / Johnson Space Center

The initiative, targeting companies that plan to send robots to mine lunar resources, is part of the US space agency’s goal of setting what Bridenstine called “norms of behaviour” in space and allowing private mining on the moon in ways that could help sustain future astronaut missions.

NASA said it viewed the mined resources as the property of the company, and the materials would become “the sole property of NASA” after purchase.

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