Feb 22, 2018

Wilbur Ross wants to turn the moon into an outer space "gas station"

Wilbur Ross, flanked by Jeff Sessions and Ivanka Trump, watches the partial solar eclipse from the White House. Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration's outer space vision is a commercial paradise, where private innovators colonize the low Earth orbit and help the government send Americans to Mars.

What's new: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC Thursday morning that the next big step in commercializing space is to turn the moon into "a kind of gas station for outer space."

"The plan is to break down the ice [there] into hydrogen and oxygen, use those as the fuel propellant. Rockets would not need as much thrust leaving Earth if they only had to get to the moon. Then at the moon, you have very low gravity so you don't need so much thrust to go from the moon to Mars, for example, or another asteroid."

Go deeper: More on the Trump administration's plan and the private companies dominating the space race

Go deeper

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.