Sometimes you get stoned to watch CNBC, and sometimes watching CNBC gets you stoned. Earlier today, we had one of the latter.
In what can only be described as a moment from one of our wildest dreams made manifest on screen, perpetually almost unconscious Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was interviewed by the Squawk Box team and spent a few glorious minutes chatting with Joe Kernen about turning the moon into "a gas station for outer space."
Because this was a conversation with Kernen, the jumping off point was a question about privatizing and deregulating something, in this case; space. Kernen (who called Ross "The Space Czar" and was basically immediately told by Ross to please stop) wanted to know how pumped Wilbur was about his new responsibilities regarding monetizing space.
And as much as any man who is - medically-speaking - sleepwalking through life can be psyched, Wilbur Ross is totes jacked, y'all! To the wondrous transcript!:
ROSS: WE THINK THE PACE OF REGULATORY CHANGE HAS TO MATCH THE PACE OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE. TECHNOLOGY IS BOOMING. YOU SAW THIS INCREDIBLE SpaceX LAUNCH, WHICH I WAS PRIVILEGED TO BE AT. AND IT WAS REALLY QUITE AN AMAZING THING. AND AT THE END OF IT, HAVE YOU THAT LITTLE RED TESLA HURDLING OFF TO AN ORBIT AROUND THE SUN AND THE MOON.
Oh, to see the world through the eyes of an exhausted 80-year-old who views the universe as a wondrous thing...ready to be strip-mined and sold for parts. We're not saying that it's not adorable how excited an old corporate raider gets when watching Elon Musk shoot a sports car into space, and thinking he understands what that means for the future. We're saying it's spectacularly adorable and incomprehensibly dumb.
But it got even "better" when Kernen essentially asked Wilbur how soon he could start investing in asteroid mining futures, to which Wilbur Ross replied thusly:
ROSS: WELL, I THINK THAT DEPENDS UPON HOW SUCCESSFUL WE ARE IN TURNING THE MOON INTO A KIND OF GAS STATION FOR OUTER SPACE. THE DARK SURFACES THAT YOU SEE WHEN YOU LOOK UP AT THE MOON ARE ACTUALLY HUNDREDS OF FEET OF SOLID ICE, SO THE PLAN IS TO BREAK THE ICE DOWN INTO HYDROGEN AND OXYGEN, USE THOSE AS THE FUEL PROPELLANT. SO WHAT IT WOULD MEAN IS THAT THE LIFTOFF AGAINST THE GRAVITY OF EARTH WOULD FOUGHT NEED TO BE NEARLY THE 5 MILLION 100 POUNDS OF THRUST THAT SpaceX HAD TO HAVE, BECAUSE YOU WOULD NOW ONLY HAVE TO GET TO THE MOON. AND 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 TO ANOTHER ASTEROID. SO THE TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH REALLY IS GOING TO BE IN THE NUMBER OF AREAS, ONE OF WHICH SHOULD BE USING THE MOON AS A GAS STATION.
Now, do go watch the video but if you can't, please re-read that amazing thought in the voice of a 138-year-old man who spends his days whittling on his porch at the edge of an overgrown cornfield. Because that's what listening to Wilbur Ross talk about space sounds like.
The Trump Administration has truly outdone itself here with what we are calling a triple-layer cake of batshit political provocation. Not only is it making an aggressive move into what it is now hilariously calling "Space Commerce," they put Wilbur "The Slipper King" Ross in charge of it and sent him on national television to be the voice of a brave new frontier in futuristic space policy.
We're not saying that this is a nonsensical approach, but we are saying that we look forward to the president doing more of this kind of thinking and bringing Gary Busey into the White House as a special policy assistant on sobriety and motorcycle safety.