What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Newt's Lunar Vision: Are Space Colonies a Fantasy?

December 10, 2011, 2:18 PM

What's the Big Idea?

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is taking some heat from fellow Republicans due to his proposal to start "a permanent colony on the moon" that would allow us to mine precious minerals. “I think we’ve got other priorities to worry about," argued Mitt Romney. "I’m for national greatness conservatism, but this is a little too great," wrote David Brooks in a recent column that dismissed Gingrich as a candidate. 

It's not a bad line of attack for those who would like to portray the former Speaker as a space cadet. And yet, there is merit to this idea. 

In a GOP debate in June, the candidates were asked if they would support federal funding for further space exploration. Gingrich is a futurist and advocate of the commercial space industry, but is also highly critical of NASA. He said: “If you take all the money we’ve spent at NASA since we’ve landed at the moon and you applied that money to incentives for the private sector, we would today probably have a permanent station on the moon, three or four permanent stations in space, a new generation of lift vehicles."

How feasible is this idea of a "permanent station on the moon"? In the 1970s, the experimental physicist Gerard K. O'Neill proposed the development of large scale space habitats that could sustain populations of up to 10,000 people. In the video below, space advocate Peter Diamandis describes how these so-called "O'Neill Colonies" would work. 

Watch the video here:

What's the Significance?

What if we were able to mine the moon for precious resources? I detailed the significance of that idea in a previous post, which quoting Diamandis as saying “there are twenty-trillion-dollar checks up there, waiting to be cashed!” Diamandis was referring to Near-Earth asteroids that contain a wide range of precious resources. That should give you some idea of the value the moon's resources hold. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan




Newt's Lunar Vision: Are Sp...

Newsletter: Share: