Newt Gingrich: Moon Base Visionary or Total Space Cadet?

While Newt Gingrich may have lost the Florida primary, he has been quick to inspire the popular imagination. But just how out there is his idea for a permanent American moon base?

What's the Latest Development?


Campaigning in Florida, the state most invested in space exploration, Newt Gingrich promised a permanent moon base within eight years of his election to the presidency. But would it be possible? An independent analysis made in 2009 by a foreign policy think tank said such a base would cost $35 billion to establish and $7.5 billion to maintain annually. That kind of money, without an industrial or national security justification, will be impossible to come by, says Roger Launius, space historian at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

What's the Big Idea?

What would building a moon base entail? Since the moon has no atmosphere or magnetic field to protect humans from radioactive cosmic rays, underground housing is probably the best way to shelter would-be colonists. Technology to store and prepare food would need to be developed, as well as a way of recycling waste. And the benefits? The only raw material that we might mine from the lunar soil is helium-3, a rare isotope that could be used in fusion reactors. But to date, we have yet to construct such a reactor back on planet Earth.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

This 5-minute neck scan can spot dementia 10 years before it emerges

The results come from a 15-year study that used ultrasound scans to track blood vessels in middle-aged adults starting in 2002.

Mikhail Kalinin via Wikipedia
Mind & Brain
  • The study measured the stiffness of blood vessels in middle-aged patients over time.
  • Stiff blood vessels can lead to the destruction of delicate blood vessels in the brain, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
  • The scans could someday become a widely used tool to identify people at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.
Keep reading Show less

CNN files lawsuit against Trump administration

The lawsuit claims the administration violated the First Amendment when it revoked the press credentials of reporter Jim Acosta.

(Photo by Al Drago - Pool/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press credentials were revoked following a heated exchange with President Donald Trump on November 8.
  • The network filed a lawsuit against the administration on Tuesday, claiming the administration has violated multiple amendments.
  • The White House may only revoke the press credentials of journalists for "compelling reasons," not for reasons involving content.
Keep reading Show less