Refueling in Space Means Staying There

Our future lies in space, not pinned down on the surface of a planet at the bottom of a gravity well. Once we have managed to climb out of that dark hole, we will have little reason to go back down into it. Most of the fuel required for space travel is burned up in the process of climbing out the gravity well to get off the planet. Once we are in space, it takes much less fuel to move around. Once we are out there, we’ll be staying there.

Water collected in asteroids provides hydrogen and oxygen, the two primary components of modern rocket fuel. It also provides sustenance for living, making it the single most valuable commodity in space. Mining asteroids will produce water, metals that are valuable in creating electronics, and rock that will be used in building space habitats. As the space economy becomes self-sufficient, settlers will stay in space and avoid planetary gravity wells.

Propulsion in space can also be provided by ion thrusters that use electric charge collected from solar energy.

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