In Brief

Moon Colony or Not, Newt Gingrich Wants to Go to Space

Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich addresses the Republican Leadership Conference on June 16, 2011, in New Orleans, La. (Image credit: Christopher Halloran | Shutterstock)

Newt Gingrich may have been mocked for proposing to establish a permanent American settlement on the moon by 2020 if he was elected president, but it turns out the outspoken politician is serious about exploring the cosmos.

Humans could set up robot-constructed mining outposts at the moon's poles. See how a moon colony could work here. (Image credit: Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

The former Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House said he would travel to space, "if I get the chance," reported Yahoo! News. He added that the ridicule he suffered for proposing such an ambitious plan is symptomatic of the broader political issues plaguing the nation.

"This is a good example of what's wrong with the current political system," Gingrich told Yahoo! News. "I gave a serious speech in Florida at the Space Coast outlining a very bold strategy. … I got savaged by two of my competitors, Romney and Santorum, who deliberately distorted the speech. I got ridiculed by 'Saturday Night Live.'"

Gingrich added that America's space program has been hobbled by NASA's budgetary woes. "The one period of glory in NASA was the first nine years when they weren't a bureaucracy yet … and they haven't gotten back to that excitement, that adventurism, and won't," he said. "So, I would take most of the NASA budget, and I would turn it into prizes for private sector."

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Denise Chow
NBC News science writer

Denise Chow is a former staff writer who then worked as assistant managing editor at Live Science before moving to NBC News as a science reporter, where she focuses on general science and climate change. She spent two years with, writing about rocket launches and covering NASA's final three space shuttle missions, before joining the Live Science team in 2013. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University. At NBC News, Denise covers general science and climate change.