January 26, 2012

Gingrich Wants U.S. Moon Base

Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich said on Wednesday that he would like to see a base on the moon and expand funds to stimulate private space projects.

Gingrich spoke during a campaign rally in Florida about a space policy initiative that would divided up NASA's budget to spend in the private-sector space programs.

"By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American," Gingrich said.

"We will have commercial near-Earth activities that include science, tourism and manufacturing, because it is in our interest to acquire so much experience in space that we clearly have a capacity that the Chinese and the Russians will never come anywhere close to matching," he said.

He isn't the only one looking to establish a moon base, Roscosmos said last Friday that it was talking with NASA and the European Space Agency about creating a manned research base on the moon.

“We don´t want man to just step on the moon,” Mr Popovkin told Vesti FM radio station. “Today, we know enough about it, we know that there is water in its polar areas “¦ we are now discussing how to begin (the moon´s) exploration with NASA and the European Space Agency.”

Popovkin said the plan is to set up either a base on the moon, or develop a space station to orbit around it.

Since NASA retired its space shuttle program in the summer of 2011, the U.S. has relied on Russia for transportation to and from the International Space Station.

President Barack Obama helped put an end to the shuttle program for a vision of space travel in the U.S. being driven by the private sector.

Gingrich agrees with the current president in that he wants to spend 10 percent of NASA's $18 billion budget on prize money for competitions that spur innovation and technological breakthroughs in space.

"I'm prepared to invest the prestige of the presidency in communicating and building a nationwide movement in favor of space," Gingrich said at a meeting of aerospace executives and community leaders after the rally.

"If we do it right, it'll be wild and it will be just the most fun you've ever seen," he said.


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