Newt Gingrich described himself as a visionary when he unveiled plans Wednesday to create a mammoth new space program, including a permanent colony on the moon within the next nine years. Within eight years, he pledges a new Mars rocket program—specifically, a “continually operating propulsion system) capable of getting to Mars within a remarkably short time.” He also reiterated his plan to declare at least part of the moon as U.S. territory, with colonists capable of petitioning for statehood status.
Put aside that Gingrich was speaking in Florida, the state most invested in space exploration and, by happenstance, the next up on the Republican primary schedule. Let’s consider cost first. The Apollo missions to the moon cost in excess of $100 billion in current dollars. In 2005, NASA administrator Michael Griffin estimated the cost of a program to land four astronauts on the moon by 2018 (as was then planned), at $104 billion.
For what reason? To beat other countries? To be the first to have a “colony” on the moon? At what expense? So, to truly embark on such an endeavor within a decade, we would have to spend somewhere between a few hundred billion and a trillion dollars. This money is better spent to those people still residing here on earth within the US.
What about jobs on earth? What about affordable health care? What about Social Security? The list goes on and on. I could have a hoot about a colony on Mars, as do most of the people of our country.
Newt Gingrich, you are grasping at straws as you see your potential candidacy spiraling down the drain like dirty dish water. Especially to the corrupt likes of Mitt Romney, I am sure that has to hurt. Please, stop being a space cadet and come back to earth.
Thanks to Don in Massachusetts for posting this political cartoon.