- Education and Science»
- Astronomy & Space Exploration
Fly Me to the Moon - Gingrich Ain't Wrong
Former Speaker Speaks Hope to Nerds Everywhere
In what Paulestinians consider a major mistake, Newt Gingrich made a statement in the debate this week that we should establish a colony on the Moon! Ron Paul shot back with the predictable, "Maybe we ought to send some politicians to the moon."
Is it just me or does Ron Paul look weasely when he does that?
Anyway, despite our financial woes, I think the speaker is right.
"Oh, no!" the Progressives and the Paulestinians will howl. "We should spend the money here on Earth. Okay how about that argument?. We're up to our neck in debt. Why in the heck would we want to waste money building a lunar colony.
I'll give you four reasons:
- So we'll be there to rescue the Chinese when their ship crashes.
- Because developing the technology to do it will put us ahead in the technology race.
- Because the only way we're going to keep Americans from eating each other alive here on Earth is to give them something to get excited about up in space.
- Because American industry now has the capability to do it themselves, if the government will just get it's pokey old butt out of the way. We've got the equipment under development. We've got courageous men and women willing to go and do it. The only thing holding us back right now is NASA standing firmly on the ground shouting "Wait for me. I'm your leader!" while shaking its collective fists at the sky where American entrepreneurs are orbiting space capsules and habitats and testing space planes and landers.
Gingrich is about the only Republican candidate that has the guts to do what it would take make the government step back and allow private space companies to risk colonizing the moon. But think about what a kick in the butt it would be if American companies could figure out a way to turn space exploration into a profit-making venture? Already Space X is ready to replace the aging Russian Progress capsules. When the Russians run out of old ICBMs to launch them with, it's nice to know an American company can get food to our guys on the station. Space X is set to test a manned crew capsule too.
Meanwhile other companies like Bert Rutan's joint venture with Virgin Atlantic and a couple of Texas companies are testing space planes and landers to see what might be feasible in terms of a low cost orbital passenger vehicle and moon landers. Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing and NASA are testing another capsule/Earth lander this year. Bigelow successfully tested an inflatable "hotel" back in 2007. They launched it on a Russkie rocket. The thing's still up there, going round and round the Earth. They're planning a live test.
The sad thing is that NASA has been throwing money into the mix and has caused some really innovative space companies to go out of business by selecting an approach they favored after inducing the losing companies to extend themselves too far going after promised government grants. NASA would have been better served to let the competition work itself out in the real world with private financing instead of trying to be the arbiter of what gets done in space and what is not "approved".
If NASA were to switch its mission from making Muslims feel good about their contributions to science and made encouraging private enterprise efforts to reach space their primary mission, who knows what American science and industry could accomplish?
Getting man on the moon as colonist would at least mean there would be somebody left alive for Jesus to take home at the Second Coming, if Iran succeeds in building working nukes and starts a holocaust with them.
Seriously, though, we always do better as Americans when we're trying to do something that's very hard to do. "Oh, but developing green technology is hard," the left pants, "Why can't we do that?"
Okay, let private industry go for it. I have no problem with developing green technology if we can just get our of the way and let private industry do it and quit piling government money into useless projects. What works with green technology is what make economic sense. That's what make it self-sustaining, not taxpayer dollars. ey, if you want to develop innovative, non fossil-fueled power technology, what better way than by figuring out how to power a lunar colony.
I don't think Newt meant we should spend a lot of money on a revived Apollo-style space program. I think he intends to get the feds out of the way and let American cowboy entrepreneurs claw their way into space. It's a risky business. I pray we haven't lost our nerve for it.
Also, I don't think it's any accident that so many private space startups are headquartered in the Southwest. Space is, after all, the only place left for a cowboy to go to get away from all this "civilization" we keep building everywhere.
Just my opinion.
Tom King - Puyallup, WA (born and bred and until lately proud citizen of Texas)