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News Newt Gingrich's Candidacy - 2012

  1. Jan 26, 2012 #1


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    There are a few threads already on Gingrich, but here's one on his candidacy for president in 2012.

    Apparently Mr. Gingrich has set a goal of establishing a manned Lunar base by 2020.

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

    Well - he is very optimistic.
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  3. Jan 26, 2012 #2


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  4. Jan 26, 2012 #3
    It seems more than optimistic to me. Anyway, why would the US government want to spend billions on establishing a permanent base on the moon?
  5. Jan 26, 2012 #4
    The more I learn about Gingrich, the more he seems to me to be an unsuitable candidate for the presidency.
  6. Jan 27, 2012 #5


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    In some respect I see why he said it, the space race has a huge romance around it that many people (Americans in particular) associate with pioneering and frontier-ship regardless of the fact that the historical parallels are just not there. But I can't see a significant portion of the demographic going for a policy that would cost hundreds of billions of dollars in these times, grand space projects are best left for times of boom.
  7. Jan 27, 2012 #6


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    The man's a fruitcake in this regard. The thought that the American public would be willing to have us spend money on that in these times is just lunacy so it seems to me that either (1) he doesn't recognize that and is thus completely out of touch with reality, or (2) [more likely] he realizes it full well and is just spouting nonsense because he thinks it might galvanize the public even though it's an idiotic idea.
  8. Jan 27, 2012 #7


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    What possible advantage could the US achieve from putting a permanent base on the Moon? Newt is a loon. He might sell more books with this type of grandstanding, but we can't possibly justify the costs of such a colony. Let the Chinese try it and bankrupt themselves in the process. (Frankly, I don't think they are that stupid....)
  9. Jan 27, 2012 #8
    Yeah, maybe it's his bid for the rocket science vote. Whatever, I think statements like this are going to hurt him as the nomination process proceeds.
  10. Jan 27, 2012 #9
    It's looking more and more like that's the case, imho.
  11. Jan 27, 2012 #10
    Reckless spending yet he stands true to fix the economy? Last I checked the moon doesn't have necessary resources readily available, and he wants a "colony" on it, so he would also need to pour money into infrastructure for the new colonists, food, medical care, etc... So, at the beginning of his presidency he'd need to start refocusing funds for the stability of the economy into this program before his second term ends. This means he'd potentially devastate us getting back on our feet economically wise? His passion is conflicting with his reasoning at the moment.
  12. Jan 27, 2012 #11
    I'm guessing he's talking about space initiatives as a way to garner votes from the NASA part (and those who benefot from NASA's presence) of Florida.
  13. Jan 27, 2012 #12
    Garnering a small fraction of votes is not reasonable enough in the long-term, especially in a primary election. It hurts more than it helps.
  14. Jan 27, 2012 #13
  15. Jan 27, 2012 #14
    Unfortunately, US isn't what it was in 1961, in part because of politicians like Gingrich who sell out to the lobbies. There's no money for that anymore... If Gingrich didn't notice, the US national debt is $15 trillion, and it's not going down by "reducing taxes to boost investment".
  16. Jan 27, 2012 #15
    As an outsider to the republican nominations, and even though I want democracy.

    I have to agree with Castro.

    "The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is, and I mean this seriously, the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been."
  17. Jan 28, 2012 #16
    I don't think this is going to endear him to the "NASA vote". I'm an aerospace engineering student who wants to go into the astro field. I have everything to gain from this. I think it's a preposterous proposal on every level. Gingrich, like all the other Republican candidates, are crazy.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  18. Jan 29, 2012 #17
    I find that an absolutely harebrained idea. What would these Moon colonists be doing on the Moon that could not be done much more cheaply in the International Space Station?

    My own preference is for automated spacecraft. They are usually much lighter, thus needing much less rocket to launch them, and they can easily be sent on one-way trips. While no astronaut has gone further than low Moon orbit around the far side of the Moon, automated spacecraft have now visited most of the more massive objects in the Solar System, and some of them are heading out into interstellar space.

    Another Newt Gingrich pretension: Newt Gingrich the Galactic Historian | History News Network He grew up liking Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, and he seems to think of himself as like Hari Seldon. The decline of the Empire = the decline of the US, Trantor = DC, The Foundation = GOPAC and the like.

    As to his past, I've discovered Tim Wise » Fake Newton: Looking for the Real Newt Gingrich. Back in the late 1960's, he was a Sixties radical, complete with supporting Sixties-radical-style educational theories.
  19. Jan 29, 2012 #18
    Eh, there are advantages to human exploration. A small research team on Mars could do what Spirit and Opportunity did within some weeks, I would guess.
  20. Jan 30, 2012 #19


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    With what effect? And with what cost? When we send remote-controllable probes to Mars, we don't have to send food and water, and we don't have to supply them with a rocket (and fuel) to get them back to Earth. Something that the "dreamers" conveniently fail to consider, along with the risk of death of astronauts due to Solar flares. We still don't have the technology to shield the operators of such craft!

    We got lucky during the Apollo program. A CME during any of those flights would have fried the astronauts. Not a good way to die.
  21. Jan 30, 2012 #20
    Actually, one can shield against any ionizing radiation if one has enough material. As an extremely rough rule of thumb, stopping distance is inversely proportional to the material density.

    NIST Physical Reference Data has lots of data:
    NIST: X-Ray Mass Attenuation Coefficients
    NIST Stopping-Power and Range Tables: Electrons, Protons, Helium Ions
    I couldn't find anything on neutrons, however. But that should be enough for improved estimates.

    Our atmosphere's thickness is thus roughly equivalent to about 10 m of water, 3 m of rock or brick or concrete, or 1 m of iron.

    I've seen proposals of a shielded "storm shelter" for interplanetary spacecraft, but that would likely need several tons of shielding material.

    BTW, lead is not really special as a shielding material. It's widely used because it's relatively dense, thus requiring less thickness than most other common materials. Gold and platinum would do even better than lead, but they are too expensive.
  22. Jan 30, 2012 #21
    We don't have to supply them with fuel. I'm a fan of Robert Zubrin's Mars Direct plan. But I don't work at NASA yet, so I haven't crunched any numbers. Still, it's an option to consider. And there always exists tangential benefits to such endeavors. Trying to keep humans alive in deep space for months at a time, then for over a year on Mars, then for a few more months, would require technological innovation. That innovation inevitably spills over into the private sector.
  23. Jan 30, 2012 #22
    I don't see any positive benefit to Moon or Mars programs other than the obvious benefit to the scientists, administrators, and support people involved.

    There's the notion that if they're occupied with Moon and Mars stuff, then they won't go to the financial sector. But there are other, better imo, ways to deal with the avarice of Wall Street.

    Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that we have far more professionally qualified scientists and mathematicians than we actually need.

    And I think that Gingrich's statement will get him into a lot of trouble. But he's pretty good wrt one on one interchanges, so we'll see.
  24. Jan 31, 2012 #23
    Newt is charismatic to the right-wing, and repulsive to everybody else.

    If he is the nominee (which is not too likely), then Obama wins. Yes, yes, I know: "bold reagan conservative". But Newt is not Reagan, just another watered-down inferior copy, one which is unelectable due to his extramarital affairs and serial lobbying.
  25. Feb 2, 2012 #24
    When interviewed on his bus by Greta on Fox, he explained his rational. He looks at his statement much like JFK’s statement to put a man on the moon in this decade (60s). Recognize the US hadn't done anything more than a low earth orbit at the time. No technology to get to the moon, guidance, survival, etc. was known. In JFK's day people asked why go to the moon, it’s too expensive, it’s too dangerous, etc. also. I was only 7, so I didn't care about why. I thought it was great, and I was going to be a scientist and not another lawyer in the family.

    Consider the following, unlike JFK’s time:

    1) We know we can get to the moon and we know we can get back. We’ve done it several times.
    2) From space station experience, we know we can live in space in zero gravity, so would 1/6th gravity perhaps be even easier?
    3) From space station experience, we know we can build in space, so would 1/6th gravity perhaps be even easier?
    4) Having been here in the 60s, I saw people inspired to go into the sciences. 50 years later, why not? By putting forth a lofty goal, perhaps it's more stimulation than near term reality, is it really so bad to stimulate or even create a movement.
    5) Is living on the moon really that much more extreme than living in space?
    6) We isolate people in the Palmer Station in Antarctica in the winter months with no way out.
    7) We isolate people on the International Space Station.
    8) So, what is really different? Distance…
    9) Dead from a medical emergency at Palmer, the ISS, exploring the ocean depths, or any of the many isolated places we explore is dead. No difference.
    10) If we are to ever explore space, we have to start somewhere and the moon is logical.

    Is it the right time? Will the Speaker get 90% private funding he thinks he can get? For those that aren’t old enough to remember the 60s, Korea was not long ago, Viet Nam was ramping up, the cold war was in full swing (with our duck and cover drills in school), and we weren’t flush with cash then either.

    Realistically possible in our lifetime? Yes, IMO. Will we? Should we? I would like to see a revival in our sciences, exploration, and stimulate our national imagination. For the same reasons JFK took us to the moon, Yes!
  26. Feb 2, 2012 #25


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    There are two huge differences between JFK's time and now that you haven't listed:
    1. The USA couldn't afford not to challenge the USSR in the space race least Russia gain a strategic military dominance in space
    2. NASA accounted for roughly 4% of the federal budget at the height of the Apollo program, far more than it does now
    And every time it was hideously expensive and there were little tangible returns (other than aesthetic)
    Probably but the cost of getting something to the moon is more than an order of magnitude than getting it to the ISS. Having to put tens of tonnes worth of base and regularly send supplies would be far more expensive than anything yet undertaken.
    Do we need to encourage so many people to go into aerospace?
    Cost wise yes.
    The cost to the Antarctic is many orders of magnitude lower.
    Distance makes all the difference.
    There is a massive difference, on Earth you have a working ecosystem to fall back on and rescue (whilst it may be difficult) is never measured in the billions of dollars.

    Even though I seem negative I do agree with you; I would LOVE to see a grand manned space project. Partly because of the science and technology we could learn and develop but mainly because it is aesthetically pleasing (we could just develop far cheaper robotic technology which would be great for the science and technology but not so much for the aesthetics). However we have had the capability to maintain a moonbase since the first apollo mission, the question is cost. I don't see the current economic climate as being the best time to start a multi-hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars project even if that is offered as a financial incentive to the private sector. There are far better things that money could be spent on right now and that includes a raft of other science projects.
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