Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gingrich: 'Let’s make the Moon a State.'

Admiral Alan B. Shepard, Jr., USN
(1923-1998), the first American in Space
and fifth human to explore the lunar
surface as commander of Apollo 14 poses
with the third of six U.S. flags deployed on
the Moon, February 5, 1971 [NASA/JSC].
"When they have 13,000 Americans living on the moon, they can petition to become a state," Gingrich said to applause at a speech on Florida's Space Coast. "By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon, and it will be American."

During the GOP presidential debate carried on CNN, Thursday, Jan. 26 at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney ridiculed the idea as mere pandering to Floridians on the Space Coast suffering in a tough economy.

"If I were the CEO of a Fortune 500 company," Romney said, "and an aide came to me with the suggestion that we invest in a colony on the Moon I would fire him."

Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) remained open minded, he claimed, while U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said government should be taken out of the way. Meanwhile former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) reiterated an idea some have called 'grandiose' as necessary to inspire young Americans to study the sciences. He looked forward to a day, he said, when the Kennedy Space Center hosted six launches a day.

Somewhat lost in the crossfire of a heated presidential primary contest among U.S. Republicans fighting one another for the opportunity to unseat Barack Obama in November is a simple truth the candidates and their camps failed to grasp. Until 2009 establishing a permanent human presence on the Moon was official National Space Policy in the United States.

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