Newt Gingrich: Where no politician has gone before

By: Scribbler1
January 31st, 2012
8:19 pm

Newt Gingrich: Where no politician has gone before

Recently, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich showed up at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Palm Beach, Florida to give a speech. Since it was Palm Beach, just a little South of Cape Canaveral, it seemed natural to inject some local interest and mention the Space Program that Floridians are so justifiably proud of. So, doing what comes naturally, Gingrich spoke of his plans for Americaís space program the only way Gingrich knew how to. He launched his plans so high it would rival the best efforts of NASA itself!

Newt proposed a base on the Moon. A permanent base on the Moon! Thatís fine, and itís a no-brainer for a politician to propose that as most Americans would love to see our old goals of interplanetary exploration kick started. But then Gingrich crossed into science fiction from that launch point. Not only did Gingrich toss out an improbable yet attention-getting promise to the potential voters, but then he one-upped himself to Science Fiction levels. He pledged a permanent moonbase that was not only self-sustaining, but populated by at least 13,000 people, presumably all Americans.

And Gingrich sweetened the pot by also proposing manned flights to Mars by 2020, coincidentally, the time his second term as president would be ending. Now, a Mars mission might have a slim chance of happening by then, provided this country went headfirst into the project, much like the Apollo Program. But Newt Gingrichís vision for lunar colonization is so absurd it should be broken down into its individual absurdities. Weíll take just the first few here, starting with time.

For one thing, unlike Apolloís predecessors, the Mercury and Gemini programs, America doesnít have a manned space program right now, and that means we have to basically start from scratch. Weíve gotten so far out of the business that we now book flights on Russian Soyuz spacecraft just to get to the International Space Station! Even the Shuttle program, which was only made for low earth orbit is now history. It would take quite a few years to design, test and fly anything that might make it to the Moon. And then it would likely take decades to build a self-sufficient habitat for the colonists. Century-21 has no listings for existing housing on the Moon.

Then thereís the matter of scale. Apollo 11 sent three men to the Moon. Rockets large enough to take people all the way to the Moon with materials and people would be even larger than the Saturn V, and we would need a lot of them. And we would also need to start small, with small crews and specially designed habitats the crews would live in as they built the colony, which would at minimum take several years. There is no Ramada Inn on the Moon. And only after we built a suitable environment for the colonists could we even begin to send specially picked and trained Americans.

And the last issue is painfully obvious. We canít afford to send a crew to the Moon right now, much less an entire colony, and you would think a fiscal conservative like Newt Gingrich would know that. The Apollo program cost the U.S. $25.4 Billion dollars, and thatís in 1969 dollars, which is over 145 Billion dollars today. And that was to let 12 men walk on the Moon in six lunar missions. The cost to ferry 13,000 people to the Moon, even with larger crews and improved technology would break the financial back of this country.

And if thatís not enough, Newt Gingrich delivers the kicker. The former Speaker didnít arrive at that 13,000 figure by accident. According to the legal website Justia.com, ďGingrich made clear that he wanted the lunar outpost to be a U.S. project, expressing openness to the possibility of statehood for the Moon colony upon its reaching the necessary minimum population.Ē But thereís a snag. We canít do that! The same article in Justia explains it this way; ďThe Outer Space Treaty (as it is popularly known) was ratified by the United States in 1967. Its Article II categorically states: ĎOuter space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other meansí

Grand promises may be business as usual these says, but this one was out of this world!

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14 comments on "Newt Gingrich: Where no politician has gone before"

  • sksmith
    January 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    As of this moment in our current situation as a nation, it is utterly incompatible to speak ill of deficits and debt held by the federal government and speak positively (and, strangely, forcefully) about the building of lunar bases.

    I kind of enjoy Newt's boisterousness, aside from my complete disagreement with a majority of his policy positions, but this is just plain absurd. The radio guy I listen to in the mornings, who I find myself agreeing with on the surface of a majority of subjects, was unfortunately on Newt's side with this issue using the most ridiculous supporting logic of "Well if we don't do it, then the Chinese will". And I know that most of this moon business is tailored to the Florida crowd and probably isn't all that serious to actual implementation should he get the big chair, but all it does is further my absolute disdain and distrust of any word spoken by any politician when asking for a vote; for all they are doing are saying things they think we want to hear, mainly promises of gifts, when all I want to hear is how they'll leave me alone.

  • Holmes
    January 31, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    But...I want a moon base. I have to wonder what it would cost though. It would have to be...wait for it...astronomical.

    Mars, not so much. I don't really want to go to, or send somebody to mars.

  • PatrickHenry
    January 31, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Space endeavors are worthy of our support as a species.

    Not so sure how it enhances national security when undertaken as a national enterprise though.

    And I think the market may be the best method of paying for all that tech.

    However, if the US could find a means of ending all its aggressive war,

    I could visualize spending our national substance on such a project.

    But right now it looks like the only way of NASA doing it is borrowing more money

    And I think that's a real bad idea.

    Newt's idea is half-baked.

  • sokpupet
    February 1, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Sorry, let the private sector develop the moon. This would just be another taxpayer footing the bill for some big corporation's profit end of day. We already can't afford our "support" of big oil. If Newt is for it, it should be questioned.

  • Holmes
    February 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Dammit I want to be a moonanite.

  • Lady Marva
    February 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Originally Posted by Holmes
    Dammit I want to be a moonanite.
    What will you do as a moon-a-nite?

  • sksmith
    February 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Originally Posted by Holmes
    Dammit I want to be a moonanite.

    But the Gorgatron is up there...do you have what it takes to be a Moon Master?

  • Holmes
    February 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Originally Posted by Lady Marva


    What will you do as a moon-a-nite?
    Originally Posted by sksmith
    But the Gorgatron is up there...do you have what it takes to be a Moon Master?
    Interesting that both questions have the same answer.

  • dgun
    February 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Whatever happened to the smaller jet like looking thing that was suppose to replace the space shuttle? It looked like a smaller version of the space shuttle?

    I forget the name of it now.

    And Newt is full of crap of course. It seems to me he was just saying whatever without much thought.

  • Scribbler1
    February 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Originally Posted by dgun
    Whatever happened to the smaller jet like looking thing that was suppose to replace the space shuttle? It looked like a smaller version of the space shuttle?

    I forget the name of it now.

    And Newt is full of crap of course. It seems to me he was just saying whatever without much thought.
    You mean the Skylon? That's British and I don't think they're going for it right now.



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