NASA to Buy Moon Dirt and Rocks from Companies

Category : Science/Environment

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. lunar / ˈlu nər / (adj) – relating to the Moon

    Astronauts gathered lunar rock samples from the Moon.

  2. retrieve / rɪˈtriv / (v) – to find and bring something back from a place

    Scientists retrieved dinosaur bones from the site.

  3. the norm / ðə nɔrm / (n) – the usual, typical, or expected situation or form of behavior

    Online activities are currently the norm.

  4. off-world / ˈɔf-wɜrld / (adj) – coming from a place other than one’s native planet

    The off-world setting in the movie looks very realistic.

  5. sustainable / səˈsteɪ nə bəl / (adj) – relating to methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources

    Many fashion brands are using recycled materials to make their production sustainable.


Read the text below.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently announced that it is willing to pay private companies that can collect dirt, rocks, and other minerals from the Moon.

Companies that intend to sell lunar resources will need to provide proof that they have indeed collected samples by sending images and data to NASA. According to NASA, it is willing to buy samples that weigh between 50 to 500 grams for $15,000 to $25,000. The space agency will eventually retrieve the rock samples and bring them back to Earth.

Through this initiative, NASA would like to set the norm for buying resources found on the Moon and other off-world locations. According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the space agency wants to buy lunar dirt, rocks, and other minerals to show that it is possible to get resources from the Moon. He added that the move can become the first step in creating a marketplace for outer space resources, and the policies that will be put into practice during these transactions may pave the way for space exploration and further discoveries.

NASA intends to utilize the lunar resources for its Artemis program, a space mission that aims to send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024.

Through the Artemis program, NASA aims to make humans’ lunar travel sustainable by creating a prolonged presence on or around the Moon. Utilizing available resources on the Moon is an important part of the program’s goal because it will eliminate the need for NASA to send all resources that astronauts will need from Earth.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think many companies will participate in this initiative? Why or why not?
• Do you think NASA should have complete ownership of the resources retrieved from the Moon? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think humans should have a prolonged presence on or around the Moon? Why or why not?
• Do you think getting resources from the Moon will become easier in the near future? Why or why not?

Category : Science/Environment