In a possible push to advance space mining, NASA is seeking information on commercial payload delivery services to the lunar surface, media reported. This week, NASA issued a Request for Information (RfI) to the private industry for proposals related to cargo transportation to the lunar surface, as well as a potential mission to collect lunar samples and deliver them back to Earth, Inverse.com reported. Also Read - NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter uses same chip as Samsung Galaxy S5, OnePlus One
The exact purpose of such a request for information (RFI), like most of the agency’s RFIs, remains ambiguous, the report said. “NASA has identified a variety of exploration, science, and technology demonstration objectives that could be addressed by sending instruments, experiments, or other payloads to the lunar surface,” the RFI reads. “To address these objectives as cost-effectively as possible, NASA may procure payloads and related commercial payload delivery services to the Moon,” it said. Also Read - NASA astronauts complete seven hour spacewalk to prep ISS for new solar panels
NASA said it is interested in assessing the availability of payload transit and delivery services from Earth to the lunar surface as early as fiscal year 2018 and through the next decade. The RFI was issued to determine whether or not there are interested and available domestic vendor sources capable of meeting the identified requirements.