Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Newt Gingrich Proposes Colonizing the Moon and Making it the 51st State, Say What?

with 8 comments

Newt Gingrich, possible Republican Presidential candidate,  has proposed colonizing the Moon by 2020 and making it the 51st state. Reaction has been mixed, but mostly ranging from critical to ridicule. It’s certainly an ambitious idea, especially talking about 13,000 colonists. Is this idea totally out of this world, or does Mr. Gingrich have a point?

Let’s look at this logically. First off, is it legal? Can the USA legally colonize the Moon? Pause for laughter. The USA hasn’t given a  rat’s ass for decades about International Law, other than manipulating it for the USA’s benefit. So we can skip this step.

Is there any reason to go to the Moon? Well, there’s certainly sound scientific reasons to go to the Moon.  And ultimately science usually pays off, so while this may not be a good reason in and of itself, it would be a nice bonus. Secondly, there’s every reason to believe that all sorts of extremely rare and valuable metals can be found on the Moon, deposited by asteroid strikes. That’s a big plus. There’s potentially all sorts of industrial processes where the Moon’s vacuum and low gravity would be a big bonus. Lastly, and in some ways the most exciting way, the Moon is believed to have copious deposits of Helium 3. Perhaps as much as a million tons, rained down by millions of years of Solar Wind. What’s so cool abut Helium 3? It has fantastic promise as a fuel for nuclear fusion … 25 tons of Helium 3 could power the USA and the EU for a year. So yes, there’s sound reasons to colonize the Moon.

Is it feasible? Well, who knows. Water has been found in copious quantities on the Moon, and there are some lovely water filled (not literally of course) craters on one of the Moon’s poles in close proximity to mountain peaks that are always in sunlight. Water, which can be made into water and air, situated near continuous solar power. To put it mildly, sounds tailor made for a massively self sufficient colony. IE a colony that can provide its own air, water, and energy has a huge head start, and there’s no reason it couldn’t quickly start producing its own food as well. Yes, there are massive technological hurdles, but the concept sure seems viable. Technological hurdles didn’t stop us from sending men to the Moon in the first place.

Finally, how much will this cost? Well, using the same accounting firm that predicted the cost of the Iraq War, cost estimates for this run in the tens of billions of dollars. And if we use the same NASA accountants that predicted how cheap and economical the Space Shuttle was going to be, we can surely confirm these estimates. Yes, I’m being facetious, this would be an incredibly expensive undertaking. A hundred billion dollars a year, maybe more, for at least a decade.

Well, um, that’s what the War in Iraq cost us, and we don’t have diddly to show for it except war graves, an Iranian aligned Iraq, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, and a huge pile of debt. Yeah, that was a good investment. No, the Project for an American Moon would employ huge numbers of people, almost immediately provide profitable technological spin offs, and ultimately pay for itself many times over. Cost alone is no reason to  write this idea off, the only question is where would this money come from? It’s not like these are flush times, and it’s a safe bet that the 1% aren’t going to voluntarily cough up a trillion dollars.

Well, I have an idea. Take the money from the military. Wait, hear me out, don’t target that drone at my apartment building just yet. Yes, use money from the military budget, but, and it’s a big but, give the military a reason to be happy with this, make them an integral part of the project. I am proposing nothing less than the creation of another branch of the military, a US Space Force to be exact. Done right this could be a very inspiring thing. They could be tasked with defending all of Earth from space based threats, starting with rogue asteroids. And protecting the rights of all nations to travel in space and exploit space. To infinity and beyond!

Just trying to think outside the lines, because staying in the lines got us where we are now. Have a great weekend everyone!

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.  It’s not being used for profit, and, well, it’s all over the Internet. I don’t know the origin, it may actually have originally been Russian. If anyone knows I will properly attribute it. I was searching for a nice image to illustrate the US Space Force idea, stumbled on this, and decided it was too funny not to share. Look closely if you don’t get the joke at first glance. One final positive aspect to Newt’s Moon colony plan. He could be on the very first ship.)

Written by unitedcats

January 27, 2012 at 9:28 am

8 Responses

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  1. Hi, Doug
    Did you ever read Roberrt Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”?
    D

    Dorothy Kahn

    January 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

    • Yes, yes I did. Even considered using cover art from the book to illustrate this post, but couldn’t find any that grabbed me. :) —Doug

      unitedcats

      January 27, 2012 at 11:33 am

  2. I’m down to go live on the moon, but I’d bet the military is already there.

    Pyrodin

    January 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm

  3. Yes, It certainly is thinking outside the box of most people. Hardly a stretch for those of us who cut our teeth on Robert Heinlein, Issac Asimov etc. But, I would suggest it might be better to make it a global effort or at least with friendly allies. England might be a good one to start with especially with billionaire Richard Branson who is already up for the challange. However, I don’t think a clear sociopath like Newt is the person we want to head such an endeavor.

    Lee A Whittaker

    January 28, 2012 at 7:58 am

  4. Great post Doug! Lovin the post frequency also it’s my first read every morning.

    Tim

    January 28, 2012 at 9:03 am

  5. We should send colonists to Mars on a one way ticket.

    If Newt is elected, many more people would want to go to Mars.

    John Galt

    January 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

  6. I think this would be a great goal for the USA. However, I think it’s best to let NASA handle something of this scope. Newt, along with Ron Paul and the rest of the GOP pinheads is for a privatized wet dream which will never realize a short term profit, the project will be defeated before it ever gets off the ground. Allowing NASA free reign on the project is a sensible answer. It would create huge employment and economic expansion, let those Keynesian multipliers fly. Moreover, the private sector will get a nice piece of the pie too, NASA’s procurement office will be very busy issuing contracts for many years to come.

    Gadfly

    January 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm

  7. One last point on the Newt……his moon colony dream will be thrown out with yesterdays paper’s as soon as the Florida primary is over. Newt is a brilliant political strategist. That whole statement was about winning votes from the unemployed and soon to be unemployed aerospace workers up and down. Florida’s space coast. Newt is still a disingenuous asshole who doesn’t give two cents about a space program. However, he is the smartest player in the GOP field which is more about comedy than politics at the moment.

    Gadfly

    January 31, 2012 at 7:43 am


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