Where GOP Candidates Stand on Space

With Santorum, Romney and Paul taking the most votes in the Iowa Caucus, where do they stand on space exploration and the future of NASA? Will other candidates make space an issue?

What's the Latest Development?

The Iowa Caucuses have put three politicians on their collective pedestal: Santorum, Romney and Paul. So where do these candidates, and the rest of the GOP field, stand on space issues? Santorum's niche is in conservative social issues so don't expect too much from him. Romney, too, has been relatively quiet, content to criticize any plans for space exploration as too costly given the nation's budget problems. Paul, ever-faithful to his small government vision, has rejected numerous federal attempts to fund NASA.

What's the Big Idea?

Considered the idea man of the GOP field, Gingrich has been the most outspoken candidate on NASA and space exploration. He has been highly critical of NASA, calling it the archetypal wasteful bureaucracy and saying that if government money had been given to private space ventures instead, the US would already have a permanent moon colony. In the past, Gingrich has endorsed giving large cash prizes to encourage space innovation. After the space shuttles were retired, he said such a prize should be given for a new manned space vehicle.

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