Ice extracted from asteroids or lunar craters will not be competitive with fuel launched from Earth on reusable rockets costing fifty thousand dollars. This should concern us.
15 tons of high quality fuels trucked from sophisticated refineries in Houston then launched for $250,000 on Falcon 9s in Brownsvile will always outcompete expensive fuels cracked from water-ice extracted out of lunar craters using as of yet non-existent multi-billion dollar technologies. In fact, the ability to launch tons of fuels from Earth to LEO on reusable rockets may delay the development of in-space resource utilization for decades.
When Musk achieves reusable rockets, development of all near Earth resources may be delayed from any cislunar source – even unfortunately asteroids with their superior concentrations of ore and favorable zero g environment. This ironically however provides a reason for taxpayer support of asteroid retrieval: private/public research partnerships teleoperating on an asteroid in Earth orbit owned by all U.S. citizens (NASA) could jump-start technologies humanity will need to develop asteroids. Humanity needs access to asteroids long-term. Asteroids – not the moon – will fuel a billion-fold increase in our industrial base. Despite a huge disparity in initial cost-competition with launches from Earth, government subsidized R&D on asteroids placed in an elliptical orbit around Earth could advance for-profit Free World leadership of in-space resource utilization by decades.
The human need to explore is deep within all of us. Our ancestors crossed mountain ranges, sailed archipelagos, and sought out the unexpected – while always looking to the stars. We are curious. And now, we’re at a place where we can pioneer new horizons. Because Earth – this blue planet, in all its beauty – is just our starting point. Now is the time to open the promise of space to all. And lay the way for generations to come. When our descendants look to the stars – perhaps from a rocky moon or colonies floating in open space – they’ll remember this time, when they’ll reflect on where it started, they’ll remember this place. And when they honor those first explorers who said, “Let’s go.” They’ll remember these bold steps. We are [“of” or “a”?] blue origin. And this, is where it begins.
(Jeff has a perfect deep voice for this but intonation needs to vary. After the first sentence it is not passionate enough, and comes across as unexcited, sleepy. These words are also too plain (for example “let’s go” delivered with a period rather than exclamation)…compare Jobs reading “The Crazy Ones” with a far less perfect voice in pitch but genuine heartfelt emphasis and modulation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAVW-jLRLE8 Anyhow, congratulations!)