Current Weather
The Spy FM

‘President Gingrich’ Promises Permanent Moon Base

Filed by KOSU News in Politics.
January 26, 2012

Newt Gingrich is a self described space nut. He traveled to Florida’s Space Coast Wednesday to outline what he described as a bold program that would send Americans back to the moon and beyond.

In a crowded hotel ballroom in Cocoa, not far from the Kennedy Space Center, Gingrich talked of coming of age at the time of Sputnik, which was the first satellite launched in 1957 by the Soviet Union. He recalled reading science fiction, author Isaac Asimov and Missiles and Rockets magazine.

“I come at space from a standpoint of a romantic belief that it really is part of our destiny, and it has been tragic to see what has happened to our space program over the last 30 years,” Gingrich said.

The space shuttle mission ended last year and with it, the end of any imminent manned space flight. It also has meant the loss of jobs on the Space Coast and a lack of well defined mission for NASA.

“By the end of my second term,” Gingrich promised if elected, “we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.”

Gingrich said he would encourage commercial activities in space, including science, tourism and manufacturing. And in about eight years, he promises a rocket capable of reaching Mars.

Gingrich gave no details on how much a re-energized space program might cost or how he proposes to pay for it, except to say commercial interests might be promised prizes in the billions of dollars for developing the hardware.

His plan for “constant energetic and excited activities” would draw people back to the Space Coast, he said. “Because it’s exciting and it’s dynamic and who knows what next week is going to be like. Does that mean I’m a visionary? You betcha.”

Later, at a roundtable with business leaders and educators, former shuttle pilot Mike McCulley recalled that President George W. Bush outlined an ambitious space agenda, which went nowhere. President Obama has also proposed a program much like Gingrich’s that would use commercial rockets to carry cargo and crew to the International Space Station.

McCulley said he might quibble with a few of Gingrich’s details, but at least it’s a vision.

“It’s been three or four major programs that have consumed enormous amounts of energy and money and time, and here we sit eight years later without a hell of a lot to show for it. I can say that now that I’m retired, of course,” McCulley said.

The former House speaker’s space plan is a classic Gingrich big idea. Whether he would be able to sell it to debt-weary taxpayers and Congress, to say nothing of whether it would succeed, can only be guessed.

“I was attacked the other night for being grandiose,” Gingrich said. “I just want you to know: Lincoln standing at Council Bluffs was grandiose. The Wright brothers going down to Kitty Hawk was grandiose. John F. Kennedy saying we’ll get to the moon in eight years was grandiose. I accept the charge that I am an American, and Americans are instinctively grandiose because we believe in a bigger future.”

Heading into next week’s Florida primary, Gingrich conceded that rival Mitt Romney has made fun of his space ideas. But Gingrich says he is a romantic, while Romney, only practical. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center