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NASA Is Willing to Pay Companies for Moon Rocks

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NASA

NASA has solicited the help of businesses to assist them in gathering regolith or lunar rocks from the Moon’s surface. The agency released this in a statement on Sept. 10, 2020.

Lunar Rock Collecting

They are hoping to find companies willing to travel to the Moon to gather around 50 to 500 grams of the lunar rocks. NASA says that once the company has provided evidence of the samples, they will take over ownership of said samples.

After NASA has taken over ownership of the sample’s they will pay the companies for them. NASA has said that after the companies have provided their proof of their samples; they would not have to return the lunar rocks to Earth. Instead, NASA would retrieve the samples on a future mission.

This information was stated by NASA’s Administrator Jim Bridenstine at the Secure World Foundation’s Summit for Space Sustainability.

Bridenstine claims that the agency aims to adapt a market for mining the soil on the Moon. Thus creating a way to “enable a normalization process” in which extraterrestrial

NASAArtemis Accord Program and CLPS

Bridenstine refused to give an exact amount of money that NASA would be willing to pay for these samples. However, he did mention that the company would be willing to pay $15,000 to $25,000.

Bridenstine said that the agency was “trying to… make sure that there is a norm of behavior that says that resources can be extracted.” He further stated that they were “doing it in a way that is in compliance with the Outer Space Treaty.” The plan is to intertwine these efforts with the Artemis Accords Program that the agency is planning.

Artemis Accords is a plan to land the next man and first woman on the Moon by 2024. The program is hoping to achieve a sustainable and strong presence on the Moon. While they prepare for this the agency is preparing to perform a historic mission to Mars.

According to the agency’s website, they have “selected three commercial Moon landing service providers,” who “will deliver science and technology payloads” in their Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS).

Hope for the Future

Their hope is to change the way that astronauts land on the Moon with advanced technology by 2024. Some of the companies included in the CLPS program are Ceres Robotics, SpaceX, and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems.

As part of the program, each company will be in charge of getting certain scientific instruments to the surface of the Moon. The agency is hoping the equipment these companies bring to the Moon will help them establish new data.

The “potential payloads” these companies bring to the Moon with help the agency measure the lunar radiation environment. It will also assess how the lander and astronaut’s activities affect the Moon. The instruments will also help them pinpoint the lander position, as well as helping with navigation precision.
The Artemis Program is made up of two-phases. The first part is to focus on the 2024 Moon Landing. The second part is focused on establishing a sustained human presence around and on the Moon by 2028.

NASA is hoping to use all the information they gather to help them send astronauts to Mars.

Written by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

NASA: NASA Selects First Commercial Moon Landing Services for Artemis Program

Space News: NASA offers to buy lunar samples to set space resources precedent; Jeff Foust

NASA: Artemis Accord

CNN: NASA wants to buy moon rocks; Jackie Wattles

NASA: CLPS Providers

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4 Burger King Restaurants Are Closing Forever

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Burger King

There are four Burger King restaurants closing in Maine. The fast-food restaurants closed some of their doors forever on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. Due to the corporation declining its franchise agreement — four locations had to close.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses to close. However, places like Burger King have generally fared well.

Policy analyst at the left-leaning Maine Center for Economic Policy, James Myall, stated that they have fared better than other kinds of restaurants.

They’ve usually been better placed to adapt, with existing drive-thru options. In some cases, they also have more resources if they’re part of a national chain, compared to a small independent operation.

Steve Hewins — President and CEO of Hospitality — agreed with Myall’s statement.

Drive thru sales have excelled, because it has been deemed safe by nearly all customers.

Hewins further stated that some places — like Chipotle — have changed their entire operations to contactless delivery or pick-up.  Places like those have a strong demand and good pay for all of their workers.

However, due to COVID-19 many businesses — not just places like Burger King — have had to close their doors. This has placed havoc on people hunting for work.

Burger KingClosing Burger King Locations in Maine

The four Burger King restaurants that are closing are owned by Steve Wegner of Orono, Maine. The closing stores are located on Camden Street in Rockland, Hogan Road in Bangor, Stillwater Avenue in Orono, and High Street in Ellsworth.

Between the four restaurants, there were roughly 80 to 100 people employed, according to a representative for Wegner. The person further stated that there are two other Burger King locations still operating. These locations have different owners and are located on Union Street in Bangor and on Wilson Street in Brewer.

Wegner had hoped the owner would be willing to renew the four Burger King’s under a different owner. However, the company did not agree to the terms, according to Wegner’s representative.

We tried until the very last second. This was the last thing the owner wanted — to put people out of work.

The representative further explained that Wegner has been in poor health. She also implied that the restaurants could have kept “running like a well-oiled machine” without his management.

Written by Sheena Robertson

Source:

Bangor Daily: 4 Maine Burger King restaurants are closing for good; by Charles Eichacker

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Social Security COLA Higher Than Forecast Expectations

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Social Security

Nearly 70 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries can expect a 3.1 percent increase beginning January 2021, according to an SSA announcement on Oct. 13, 2020. In August, forecasters thought the cost of living adjustment (COLA) would be between 0.50 and 1 percent.

Social SecurityCOLAs are calculated using data from the Consumer Price Index for Urban Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The average CPI-W index numbers for July-September 2019 are compared to those from the same quarter for 2020. The percentage change between the two quarterly averages determines the cost of living changes for the next year.

Unfortunately, the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic depressed the economy. The prices for essential medical supplies like gloves, peroxide, and OTC medications skyrocketed after panic shopping emptied retailers’ shelves.

Price gouging occurred during the first quarter of 2020 — prices for grocery items such as meat and dairy have soared throughout the year. Conversely, the price of regular gas fell from $2.60 a year ago to $2.19, according to AAA in August. Based on the method used to determine COLAs, the first quarter would not be considered.

David Certner, AARP’s director of legislative policy for government affairs, offered the aforementioned range. Other experts predicted the Social Security COLA would be as low as 0.44 and as high as 1.1 percent.

The average Social Security retirement beneficiary receives $1,514.13 monthly. Based on 3.1 percent, the increase is $19.68.

According to the SSA website, COLA notices will be available online in the Message Center of their “my Social Security” account in December 2020.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Source:

Social Security Administration: Social Security and Supplemental Security Income

AARP: Social Security COLA Forecast for 2021

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McDonald’s HQ Sale Breaks Record for Chicago’s Fulton Market District

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A deal to sell the McDonald’s headquarters building would be a record-breaking transaction for Chicago’s Fulton-Randolph Market District. Reportedly, the sales price is about $420 million, according to the Chicago-Tribune on Oct. 9, 2020.

McDonald'sThe transaction between Developer Sterling Bay in Chicago and Normandy Properties LLC in the Pittsburgh area has not been finalized. Should the sale of 11 N. Carpenter go through, it would shatter the record for Fulton Market.

Normandy Properties’ decision to buy the McDonald’s building during the coronavirus pandemic might be a questionable investment. Many businesses are moving away from traditional workplaces and transitioning their employees to working from home, which causes investors to be leery about the long-term outlook for office buildings.

The risk factor is low in this circumstance since McDonald’s lease is not up until 2033, and the company occupies 80 percent of the building. Specifically, they “lease 490,000 square feet for corporate offices, the Hamburger University training facility, and a ground-floor restaurant.”

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Source:

Chicago-Tribune: McDonald’s HQ to sell for about $420 million, a record for Chicago’s Fulton Market district; Ryan Ori

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