Why Newt Gingrich’s Moon Base Still Matters

Moon Base Alpha as seen in Space: 1999.

So Newt Gingrich isn’t running for president anymore, and we’re probably better off for that.  Early in his campaign, he promised that if he were elected he would build a Moon Base by 2020 and give America’s lunar colony the opportunity to become a state.  Of course, this sounded ridiculous and probably contributed to Gingrich’s ultimate defeat in the Republican Primary.  However, returning to the Moon and establishing a Moon Base is still a good idea, and it might still happen regardless of who’s president.

Here are five reasons why a Moon Base is a good idea.

  1. The Hubble Space Telescope has provided scientists a great opportunity to study the universe, but soon it will go into retirement.  NASA is building an even more powerful telescope to replace it, but someday that too will go into retirement.  Establishing an observatory on the Moon could provide all the benefits of space telescopes without the hassle of periodically replacing them.  It could also be more cost efficient.  Click here for more on that.
  2. The Moon has an abundance of natural resources, some of which are extremely rare on Earth.  Helium-3, an isotope of helium, is one of them and could be used one day as a carbon-free, radiation-free fuel source.  Click here for more on how to get the Moon’s helium-3.
  3. The Moon can be used as a launch point for further exploration of the Solar System.  The Moon’s gravity is one-sixth that of Earth’s, so launching from the Moon is about six times easier and cheaper than launching from Earth.  A spacecraft could be built using the Moon’s own resources and sent to Mars, Jupiter, or wherever for a fraction of the cost.
  4. Newt Gingrich wanted his Moon Base to become America’s 51st State, but lunar colonization shouldn’t be for Americans only.  The Russian Space Agency has already approached the European Space Agency and NASA to form a Moon Base partnership.  If their proposal works, the next time human beings walk on the Moon it won’t be about one nation competing with another but many nations working together.  That kind of cooperation would not only advance science but change the way we see our own planet.  Click here for more on Russia’s proposal.
  5. This is the most important reason to build a Moon Base, at least in my opinion: the Moon would make an awesome vacation spot!  Hopefully, I’ll see you there at the low gravity tennis court.

Disclaimer: This is not a political blog, and I am not a Newt Gingrich supporter.  It would have been nice, though, to see a serious debate about space policy in our presidential politics, and maybe someday we will.

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