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Moon rush: NASA looking for companies to help mine the lunar surface – Euronews

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Nasa is looking for private companies to go to the moon and collect dust and rocks on its behalf.

The American space agency says it will pay for the samples, but not for the trips. It hopes they will be collected by 2024.

Experts say the move aims to set a legal precedent for mining on the surface of the moon.

Ultimately, that would allow NASA to one day collect materials useful to colonies there, and, eventually, on Mars.

“But I think the main reason for this initiative is to establish the legal principle that you can take ownership of lunar material,” Thomas Cheney, lecturer in space governance at The Open University in the UK, told Euronews.

He explained that are “no specific international guidelines for moon mining” although there are several proposals and discussions taking place at the United Nations-level, he added.

“The United States has been pushing this as a position in international law for over five years now, and now is ripe to encourage actual activity rather than simply expressing an opinion,” he went on.

Watch more from the interview in the video player above.

Per the official request released by NASA, the contractor will commit to collect samples of between 50g and 500g of lunar regolith ad/or rock materials from the surface of the Moon.

They will also provide imagery to NASA of the collection and the collected material as well as data to identify where on the Moon it was collected.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote in a blog post accompanying the request that the agency’s Artemis programme — which aims to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 — is also focused on “taking steps that will establish a safe and sustainable lunar exploration architecture”.

“Next-generation lunar science and technology is a main objective for returning to the Moon and preparing for Mars. Over the next decade, the Artemis programme will lay the foundation for a sustained long-term presence on the lunar surface and use the Moon to validate deep space systems and operations before embarking on the much farther voyage to Mars,” he added.

Bridenstine clarified that the solicitation is not limited to US companies alone.

Cheney pointed out that for companies wishing to be awarded a NASA contract for moon dust “the economics are challenging to say the least.”

Among the companies he said might be interested might be ispace, a Japanase firm, as well as several others that are already “involved in supporting scientific missions such as those undertaken by NASA and the European Space Agency”.

“There will be a lot more activity than there has been but we shouldn’t be expecting a California-style gold rush,” he added.

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Ah Crap: The Arctic Is Releasing a Ton of New Greenhouse Gas – Futurism

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Gas Leak

Figuring out when, and to what extent, the Arctic will melt and release greenhouse gases into the air has been a major challenge for environmental scientists. Now it seems like the process is already underway.

A team of Russian and Swedish scientists exploring the Arctic Ocean found that the continental slope near Siberia has already started to give off huge amounts of methane, which is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, The Guardian reports. The methane, which is leaking into the ocean and the air, is a worrying new data point about the state of the climate.

Early Days

The scientists, who haven’t yet finished analyzing their data or sent it for review by an academic journal, stressed to The Guardian that they’re still at a very preliminary stage of their research. But their discovery is still ominous. If the Arctic is releasing carbon in mass quantities, it could trigger a feedback loop that worsens climate change and continues to give off even more greenhouse gases.

“At this moment, there is unlikely to be any major impact on global warming, but the point is that this process has now been triggered,” Örjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University told The Guardian. “This East Siberian slope methane hydrate system has been perturbed and the process will be ongoing.”

Unknown Impacts

It will be hard to tell what impact these Arctic greenhouse gases will have on the global environment — but the consensus among experts is that it could be disastrous.

“This is a new page,” Igor Semiletov of the Russian Academy of Sciences told The Guardian. “Potentially they can have serious climate consequences, but we need more study before we can confirm that.”

READ MORE: ‘Sleeping giant’ Arctic methane deposits starting to release, scientists find [The Guardian]

More on the Arctic: This is the Devastating Potential of the Arctic Permafrost Melting

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SOFIA: a telescope on the forefront of astrophysics research – NASASpaceflight.com

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SOFIA: a telescope on the forefront of astrophysics research – NASASpaceFlight.com

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Rare Full Moon Expected on Halloween Night – AM800 (iHeartRadio)

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Halloween may seem extra spooky this year thanks to a full moon.

It’ll be visible in every time zone on Saturday, something that hasn’t happened since 1944. 

It’s also known as a “blue” moon, even though the color won’t change.

Scientists use the term to describe the second full moon of the month.

A full moon on Halloween won’t happen again until 2039.

With files from MetroSource and CTV News

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