Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/27/gingrich_moon_base/

Newt Gingrich wants Moon to be 51st US state

Promises permanent Moon base by 2020, Mars as next target

By Iain Thomson

Posted in Science, 27th January 2012 01:23 GMT

Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is telling the people of Florida about his plans for a permanent base on the Moon, and suggesting it may be possible for the satellite to become the 51st US state.

"By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the Moon, and it will be American," he told supporters at a rally on Wednesday.

Gingrich, who not-so-coincidentally was speaking at a venue near the Kennedy Space Center, said that he would assign 10 per cent of NASA’s budget for prizes to commercial companies trying to get into space, and suggested that tourism and resource-mining could make a permanent lunar base a reality.

However, his plans don’t just stop at colonizing the Moon – Gingrich wants to make it American. He has already proposed a "Northwest Ordinance for Space," which would allow the Moon’s residents to apply to become a US state once the population reaches 13,000. The UN would certainly have an issue with this, since the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, to which the US is a signatory, expressly forbids any government from claiming the Moon as its territory.

Looking further ahead, Newt said that by the end of 2020 he wants to see mankind going to Mars using a “continuous propulsion system” that he said would drastically cut transit time to the Red Planet.

“By the end of 2020, we will have the first continuous propulsion system in space capable of getting to Mars in a remarkably short time, because I am sick of being told we have to be timid and I am sick of being told we have to be limited in technologies that are 50 years old,” Gingrich said.

There was, of course, a healthy dose of self-interest in Newt’s remarks. Florida has been hit hardest by the gutting of NASA’s budgets, and the speech played well with the job-seeking locals. There are a lot of unemployed space workers at the moment, and Floridians clearly miss watching the Space Shuttles rising into their skies. ®

Bootnote

Gingrich recently said admiringly of himself that "I think grandiose thoughts." The Reg tends to agree, at least in his loony lunar pronouncements, seeing as how Webster's primary definition of grandiose is "characterized by affectation of grandeur or splendor or by absurd exaggeration."