From tomorrow, NASA will start receiving initial proposals from private companies interested in the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown program, which, in short, means the start of moon-mining.
Those companies who win a contract are to start their journey to the moon by building prospecting robots. The final proposals are due on the 17th of March 2014, but there has been no word from NASA about when the final winners will be announced.
This is not the first time NASA has reached out to the private sector for funding, and the projects shared have met with success. Notable examples are the companies that work with the space agency to help service the International Space Station and the crowdsourcing campaign launched with Planetary Resources, that focused on updating NASA’s asteroid detecting algorithms. And we can’t really forget SpaceX, which has been contracted by the space agency to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
Source: The Verge