Unveiling an election agenda that is literally out of this world,a leading Republican White House hopeful has promised to build a permanent American base on the Moon,an idea termed by his rivals as a wild dream and unaffordable for a country experiencing an economic crisis.
Newt Gingrich,the former Speaker of US House of Representatives,promised to set up a permanent base on the Moon by 2020. The issue figured prominently at the last Republican presidential debate held ahead of the Florida primary on January 31.
Gingrich said he would like to have an American on the moon before the Chinese get there. I believe by the use of prizes,incentives,by opening up the spaceport so its available for commercial flight,by using common sense you didnt have to rely on a Russian launch or Chinese launch, he said.
Thats an enormous expense, said Mitt Romney,the former Governor of Massachusetts. Right now I want to spend money here. Of course the space coast has been badly hurt,and I believe in a very vibrant and strong space programme, he said. I believe in a manned space programme. Im not looking for a colony on the moon. I think the cost of that would be in the hundreds of billions,if not trillions.
However,Gingrich said,Its important to go back to what Kennedy said in 1961: We will go to the moon in this decade. The programme I envision would probably end up being 90 per cent private sector, he argued.
Romney said being a businessman,If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon,Id say,youre fired.