The White House floats a rial balloon:
If we want to want to create a robust civilization in our solar system, more of the energy, raw materials, and equipment that we use in space has to come from space. Launching everything we need from Earth is too expensive. It would also be too expensive to send all of the factories required to manufacture everything necessary to support a solar system civilization.
Ultimately what we need to do is to evolve a complete supply chain in space, utilizing the energy and resources of space along the way. We are calling this approach “bootstrapping” because of the old saying that you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Industry in space can start small then pull itself up to more advanced levels through its own productivity, minimizing the cost of launching things from Earth in the meantime. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen overnight, but I think that it is the right long-term goal.
Have ideas for massless exploration and bootstrapping a Solar System civilization? Send your ideas for how the Administration, the private sector, philanthropists, the research community, and storytellers can further these goals at email@example.com.
It would be nice to think that this is the sort of thing the administration was actually interested in doing something with. But let’s just say I won’t be holding my breath on this.