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neo solar system, tip 30 degrees
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image without legend and with periodic comet dust

Water recently discovered in the space near Earth could enable a clear profit when Americans occupy the solar system. Rockets must eject mass out the rocket nozzle to accelerate in the vacuum of space. Water can be such a mass when heat boils it into steam. Water is also rocket fuel ore, to make liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen. Until the recent discovery, it was missing.

With the rocket fuel, we could transport both more rocket fuel and precious metals from near Earth space to orbits around Earth itself, in massive quantities. Without it, we failed. We could not even afford to return to the Moon after giving about half a Trillion dollars to NASA.

Shown are the 1000 largest near earth objects (red points). About 30% of the 8000 known neo's are expected to have water in a form that can be cooked out of them at self cleaning oven temperatures.  The comets (white) comprise a dirty water permafrost and hydrocarbons similar to oil shale. All are nearly invisible, all being dark and smaller than central Washington DC.

If we park water in Earth orbit we calculate we could sell it at much lower cost than the cost of launching anything into space. The neo's that do have water, are larger than about 1 kilometer and are easier to reach than getting on and off the moon, each could be worth more than a Trillion dollars, net to Earth orbit.

The first to bring rocket fuel to Earth orbits would both totally dominate the space around Earth and would become Trillionaires. Nations could back their currency with the in-the-space-dirt reserves, like copper or oil in the ground.

A way to tell which ones are water-full is to send a small prospecting and assay probe. Our wisest first action would be to heavily fund the neo astronomers whose telescopes would identify best candidates.

ice igloo space ship
Water itself can be "rocket fuel" when a heater boils it into steam directly into a rocket nozzle. A giant water balloon would be the neo space tanker.

Anthony Zuppero,
530 647 1975
Pollock Pines, CA May 16, 2011

Anthony Zuppero was the last Principal Investigator for nuclear space transport at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory, during the late 1990's. With a Ph.D. in physics, he spent over 30 years on various space programs as Principal Investigator or Program Manager. He retired from Lockheed Martin, US DOE's Idaho National Lab and Sandia. He holds over 2 dozen patents.

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2011.05.16_2238 a zuppero