Elon Musk's public pot smoking days are over, NASA chief says

The companies, some which will develop small launch vehicles and robotic rovers over the next 10 years, will vie for a chunk of the $2.6 billion under the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.

Following Elon Musk's recent appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast - during which he smoked weed and drank whiskey while on the air - NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the SpaceX CEO promised him he will not behave inappropriately in public again.

NASA has revealed the names of nine USA companies that now will join it in its journey to the Moon.

Of the group, the only well-known name is aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, which has a long track record of success with NASA and built the InSight lander that touched down Monday on Mars. In addition, Orbit Beyond will use the lander developed by Team Indus, the India-based company that was one of the prize's finalists.

Zurbuchen said Thursday that a mobile lunar laboratory remains one of NASA's goals for Moon exploration, though such a mission would likely be developed through a more traditional process.

"The Artemis-7 design will fly multiple times before its first CLPS mission", said Seamus Tuohy, principal director of space systems at Draper. Astrobotic has steadily developed our lunar delivery service with a methodical, technically sound lander program validated by world-class company partners like ULA, Dynetics, and Airbus DS. The Apollo astronauts deployed them during their moon landings, but placing additional reflectors on the moon would enable precise measurements of its gravity.

Speaking later to AFP, Bridenstine said the review shows how seriously NASA takes the safety of its astronauts. Rather, they likened the effort to high-risk, high-reward bets by venture capital investors. Now, within hours after NASA announced their plans to take humans to the moon, Russian Federation has revealed that they intend to build a lunar base by 2040.

Buoyed by advanced science and new revelations, Roscosmos has pushed a Moon base to the top of its priorities.

With Peregrine's robust delivery capacity, the lunar surface is open to NASA and the commercial market for resource prospecting, planetary science investigations, technology maturation, and other activities.

NASA has contracts with both Boeing and SpaceX.

"The selection (of the nine companies by NASA) marks an important turning point in the change of the initiative for lunar exploration from government-led to private-led", ispace said in its Japanese press release.

The exploration of the Moon will follow next, with the ultimate goal, a trip to Mars and back, to end the current stage of human expansion to space.

  • Joe Gonzales