In a Thursday interview with CNBC, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross explained how he believes commercial space exploration will evolve: the future of space travel hinges on colonizing the moon.
"I think a lot depends upon how successful we are in turning the moon into a kind of gas station for outer space," Ross told "Squawk Box." "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, he said. "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."
President Donald Trump placed Ross in charge of promoting the administrations drive to commercial space exploration and travel, including recently announced plans to privatize aspects of the International Space Station.
Ross also commented on the Tesla Roadster that Elon Musk's SpaceX recently launched into space:
"It was really quite an amazing thing," Ross recalled. "At the end of it, you have that little red Tesla hurdling off to an orbit around the sun and the moon."