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Wilbur Ross fleet moon as a space service station

President Donald Trump and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

  • The Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, said that one of the objectives of the Trump administration is to turn the moon "into a kind of service station for outer space."
  • The idea has come before, with a recent study suggesting a refueling station the moon could save large amounts of energy.
  • Ross also praised Elon Musk for the recent launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket and said the Trump administration wants to drive the deregulation of commercial space exploration.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that the Trump administration's objectives include using the moon as a transit station for expeditions that explore deeper parts of the solar system.

"A lot depends on how successful we are in turning the Moon into a sort of service station for outer space," Ross said Thursday morning on CNBC.

President Donald Trump appointed Ross, a former private equity investor, as the right person to push for commercial space initiatives and as a member of the reconstituted National Space Council.

At Ross' conception, the expeditions went first from Earth to the Moon, and then used ice from the craters of the moon to refuel on their way to other destinations.

"The plan is to decompose the ice into hydrogen and oxygen, to use it as a propellant fuel," Ross said.

The idea is not too far-fetched: the concept of the moon as a stop on the way to deeper space has been the subject of several studies that show that it could reduce the use of energy.

The Trump administration recently announced initiatives to increase commercial exploration in space, as a proposal to revert the operation of the International Space Station and low-orbit operations to private partners.

Ross also praised Elon Musk of SpaceX for the recent launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket and said the administration wants to reduce regulations for commercial space travel as a way to encourage more competition.

"It was really amazing," Ross said of the launch of SpaceX. "In the end, you have that little red Tesla that is launched into an orbit around the sun and the moon."

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