Donald Trump has made it clear that he wants space travel back and that the nation will be looking to become the leaders in the space industry. This includes going to the moon and becoming the first country to send a man to Mars and beyond.
Speaking to CNBC’s Squawk Box about the country’s future commercial space projects, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said our future successes largely depend on what we accomplish by going to the Moon, such as turning it into a refuelling station by establishing a lunar colony.
“I think a lot depends upon how successful we are in turning the Moon into a kind of gas station for outer space,” Ross told CNBC. “The plan is to break down the ice [found on the Moon] into hydrogen and oxygen, [and] use those as the fuel propellant.”
Ross predicts a future in which rockets headed towards Mars or deep space will not directly lift off for that destination from Earth. The rocket would first head to the moon for refuelling and then take off once again. This launch would require much less thrust as the lunar gravitational force is much weaker than the Earth’s.
The Trump administration is also planning to turn over the International Space Station (ISS) to private companies. The reason is that ISS needs billions of dollars to maintain and if it is no longer the US Government’s headache, it will free up a lot of funds for further space projects. However, if that comes to pass, Ross says that there needs to be a set of rules that need to be established.
“There need to be means for policing, if you will, the debris in space,” he said to CNBC. “That’s one of the big problems. And as more and more launches occur, more and more satellites reach the end of their life, that’s going to be a problem we have to deal with.”
Even though it sounds promising, it is not happening soon. It will take a lot of time if the lunar gas station does eventually become a reality. You can hear what Ross has to say about space and global trade: