Space

Newt! In! Space!

|

Newt could only clear 2 hours on his schedule?

Yesterday, GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich dropped some "grandiose" thoughts about space policy on an eager Cocoa, Florida, audience. Among his proposals:

By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent based on the moon. And it will be American.

We will have commercial near-Earth activities—that includes science, tourism, and manufacturing—that are designed to create a robust industry precisely on the model of the development of the airlines in the 1930s. Because it is in our interest to acquire so much experience in space that we clearly have a capacity that the Chinese and the Russians will never come anywhere close to matching.

By the end of 2020, we will have the first continuous propulsion system in space capable of getting to Mars in a remarkably short time, because I am sick of being told that we have to be timid and I am sick of being told that we have to be limited to technologies that are 50 years old. 

(See the video here.)

There's a reason Newt is talking space right now: Florida is the state to win, and Florida has a lot of NASA-dependent jobs that are currently in jeopardy due to the end of the shuttle program and shifting priorities in space. Which means his implicit message is one of big government spending on a big government program. By all accounts of the speech, Gingrich conveniently neglected to mention how his moon base and Mars mission were going to be funded.

But many of his explicit points were excellent—and consistent with the current push for more reliance on the private sector—especially the 10 percent of NASA's budget he proposed setting aside for prizes to encourage private spending and innovation. But will Newt break the NASA-national greatness connection that congressional Republicans hold so dear? Probably not.

Gingrich isn't a newcomer to this issue. He has been geeking out on space for a long time. He even founded the congressional Space Caucus. And in this month's print edition, Rand Simberg names Gingrich as a star that might align to produce decent space policy:

Can space policy be fixed? Not without the national will to do so. It would take either real visionaries making policy decisions or some sort of existential crisis (e.g., an asteroid with our number on it) to break out of the policy logjam. But the chances of the former are not as low as one might think. Had Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) not switched parties seven years ago while being allowed to keep his seniority, the 88-year-old defender of the status quo would not be the current chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Instead the chairmanship would have fallen to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who has defended the administration's space policy. Rohrabacher will almost certainly take over when Hall retires or is term-limited out in five years. If Newt Gingrich by some miracle wins the GOP presidential nomination and the White House, he would be the most space-conversant commander in chief in American history. So the stars might yet align.

In the speech, Newt cops to the weirdest space thing he's ever done: proposing a Northwest Ordinance for the moon—if ol' Luna gets 13,000 residents it become eligible for statehood. But earlier this month, before Newt was much more than a presidential punchline, Mother Jones dug up an arguably weirder interest: Sex in space

in his 1984 book, Window of Opportunity (and again in his 1994 book, To Renew America), he suggested that private space flight would open up business opportunities for space tourism—specifically for honeymooning couples. As he put it: "Imagine weightlessness and its effects and you will understand some of the attraction."

Of course, Reason has been on that beat for a while. And one more time in case you haven't heard: Reason's Very Special Space issue is on newsstands now.

NEXT: John Stossel on What Obama Should Have Said in His SOTU Address

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Sex in space is Newt’s only hope of ever being on top.

    (Unless he’s a necrophile??)

    1. I don’t think there’s actually a “top” in space.

      1. In space, everyone is on top! Great new motto.

  2. Newt! In! Space!

    I am very disappointed by no link, Katherine.

    1. Link Hogsthrob!

    2. You beat me to it Warty. Marianne can play Miss Piggy.

  3. I say this as someone with a master’s degree in aerospace engineering: Screw wasting our money on space.

    1. one cannot argue w wisely using our space budget.

      1. A military man and attending physician at the school of medicine at which I am enrolled does not think long term space travel is physiologically feasible. The devastating effects of bone loss due to weightlessness or low-weight environments makes long term space journeys (even living on the moon) impractical. Unless we can create gravity (a science fiction) or are okay with devolving into osteoporotic blobs in a matter of years, we will not be going anywhere. Despite what Scientologists like to tell us, we are made for earth and it’s not going to be easy to reconfigure ourselves for elsewhere.

        1. That is why transhumanism is the first step towards space travel. And can’t you create artificial gravity by rotating the space ship like the old Von Braun space station designs?

          1. Perhaps that is possible; I don’t think it is feasible. We’re going to have to find some incredible energy source on the moon to build a colony there.

            1. It will have to be deep underground. People forget about asteroids. The moon has no atmosphere to protect it and one decent sized asteroid would take out an entire colony.

              The energy source is attainable. I think fusion will some day happen, as in like the next century. And it appears there is water on the moon. The problem is, once you get there, so what? Who would want to live there rather than the earth?

              1. People choose to live in Cleveland and New Jersey. Is the Moon really that much less desirable?

              2. In the current state of affairs? Sign me the fuck up.

                1. My guess is that it will be religious zealots who will be the first. You have to have a reason to leave earth, a good amount of discipline and a real desire to make a go of it. Religious zealots have that.

              3. Obviously there will be two classes; rich wierdos like Lady Gaga and indentured slaves to work the moon mines.

                1. Predictions
                  First moon base: 2033
                  First Moon Deficit: 2034

            2. Uh, solar is quite feasible on the moon. No weather, no atmosphere.

              Yes, L-T space travel is a problem for human physiology. It may be a one-way trip.

          2. We don’t need transhumanism to colonize space. Look, the real interest is in celestial bodies–the Moon, Mars, asteroids, maybe outer planet moons. Not zero-gravity environments. We know next to nothing about the long-term effects of low gravity (versus free fall), but I imagine we’ll have a better chance of adapting to those environments.

            While long-term exposure to zero gravity appears to be a major problem, there are ways to mitigate the issue for the longer flights, and, of course, we could make it even less of an issue with advanced propulsion that shortens travel times. Frankly, I think dealing with radiation is a much more serious concern.

        2. Can’t you just spin the spacecraft? It’s not gravity, but it does give a constant acceleration which could strengthen bones.

          The real problem is radiation. Even the moon astronauts had random flashes in their vision from the cosmic rays blasting through their skulls.

          I agree though – no humans in space. Send some more drones, make the drones autonomous, and let them explore until we evolve beyond meat-based bodies.

          1. Put missiles on those drones, and you have a sure-fire winner in Republican circles.

            1. gosh imagine the new skin colors added to the hatz-me-sum list?

            2. How do we know there’s no Taliban on the moon unless we go look?

        3. Are you daft doc? You don’t need “gravity” to halt bone loss, you need any sort of pressure on your bones. Centripetal force and exercise would keep that from being a problem. Or suspension in a heavy fluid like water.

  4. We will balance the Federal budget by building a base on Mars!

  5. Wouldn’t Newcular Titties in space violate the outer space treaty?

    1. i’ll violate your space

      1. And oh how you have already.

    2. Don’t worry. The aliens observing from just beyond Jupiter’s orbit will put up the containment bubble before humans get too far.

      1. the vulcans care about fast

        1. Such a great book. Read it years ago.

  6. Sex in space sounds seriously awkward. What do you use for leverage? Do you strap yourself in or something? Use bungee cords?

    1. I’m really not keen on the idea of floating around and hitting my head constantly on things while trying to, as the kids say these days, “do it”.

    2. Use your imagination man. Free floating in a zero-g wonderland it what makes it worth doing.

    3. I saw a history channel thing about this very subject one time, pretty much coming to the same conclusion. There was also question about whether you could physically impregnate a woman.

      Space sex = birth control, yay!

      1. now you’re talkin!

    4. Yes, you’d have to anchor down. For me the far worse problem is the random fluids that will be freely floating around.

      1. Why? Just grab onto her hips. Have the whole room be padded and it won’t matter if you bump into walls.

        1. Equal and opposite reactions. You’re more likely to push each other around the room than acheive penetration. You’d probably need a harness to maintain while free floating. Someone should fund a study.

          1. Nah, once you’re attached you essentially become one free floating body. Anyway, I’m sure it could be done and would be willing to participate in any studies proving it.

            1. Ephesians 5:31
              For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

      2. I’ve fucked in water on full scuba gear with no issues whatsoever.

        I’d say fucking in space is not only possible, but would be awesome.

        1. Underwater?

          1. You can even get up to a decent speed if you’ve got really good core strength. And the vortex which spins between your legs on the back stroke is an added bonus.

    5. Sex in space sounds seriously awkward. What do you use for leverage? Do you strap yourself in or something? Use bungee cords?

      Didn’t Pres. Kennedy commission a secret government project just for that purpose? I think they invented velcro.

  7. Should he not be advocating PRIVATE space ventures? I mean, that’s the only way he’d get to go. They don’t let people of his physical condition into space via gov’t programs.

    1. He probably figures that he can work out some “study” of the effects of weightlessness with a single subject, a’la John Glenn. If NASA can send a single geezer into space and call it a study, why not a single fatso?

      1. It’s this a cost of payload issue? I mean, wouldn’t it cost like a billion dollars to send him into space versus, say, McLovin?

  8. Space aliens MEET with Newt?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPijP3CvmIk

  9. My Fellow Americans,

    I think we can all agree that putting aside 10% of the budget to fly all of Congress, the president and the GOP nominees to the Moon would be the best Economic stimulus program available.

    One way.

    1. I’d be down for it even if it took more of the budget, so long as the Pauls stay Earthside to hit the Launch button.

      1. Oh fuck off.

        Paul would do more for the space industry than Newt ever could. For one, he’d eliminate NASA’s paralyzing bureaucracy adding more and more safety regulations to make private entrepreneurs bankrupt before they succeed and he’d definitely be for allowing more private space ports.

        And it wouldn’t cost the US a single dime.

        In conclusion, blow me.

      2. Upon rereading of this comment and the previous one, I retract the above comment.

        1. can i still blow you?

    2. Why the moon? We can let them experience reentry like most meteorites do. Burning.

      1. Oh, and ditto on the Pauls being spared.

        1. Yes, keep the Pauls. I have another idea for this trip. Let Biden drive.

          1. I hear that the planet is about to be eaten by some kind of giant space goat. We should make sure that our leaders make it off the planet safely.

      2. They’d be dead before they got to die from re-entry though. We’ll need to develop special suits to allow them the experience.

    3. What is this budget you speak of?

      1. [::blank stare::]

    4. I think Douglas Adams had that idea first.

  10. No! Now we’ll never know if ants can turn tiny screws in space!

  11. All part of Newt’s quest to find a planet whose gravity won’t exert as much of an effect on his corpulent body.

    1. He needs some suspensors like Baron Vladimir Harkonnen.

      1. This scares me. Is Newt really the Baron, come here from some alternate reality? The similarities can not be only coincidence.

        1. Yes. Opposed by Ron Paul Muad’Dib.

          1. And doesn’t Ron Paul Muad’Dib’s son eventually achieve Godhood and save the human race? Hmmm, I am liking this scenario more and more. Who is Duncan Idaho? Gary Johnson?

            1. No, he’s Gary “Gurney” Halleck. Jeff Flake is Duncan Idaho.

              1. You think Flake gets that much tail?

  12. Excellent title for this article.

  13. Newt only wants to go to the moon because he has heard it can be a harsh mistress.

    1. Congratulations, sir.

      1. Check your PMs somewhere, SF.

        1. Nothing there. I’ll send you one.

    2. Awesome.

    3. Winnah.

      Sounds like I’m not the only one who suspects Callista is the dom to Newt’s sub.

  14. I will say this for space travel, if the government insists on stealing all of our money and wasting it, space travel is probably a better waste than most.

    1. Until the TSA starts regulating space travellers too.

  15. From Dear Prudence today. Soccer mom makes play for mother of the year.

    Dear Prudence,
    My husband, son, and I are going on vacation with my in-laws. It should be a good time, and I am looking forward to it. There is one sticking point: I would like to cook all meals separately so that each family feeds their own members. My husband thinks his mother will be upset by this. They are good people, but I don’t like what they eat, nor would they like what I cook. I also don’t want my son eating some of the things that they eat, like hot dogs and hamburgers. I’m sure that no one in my husband’s family would touch my shrimp and garlic pasta. Is my suggestion reasonable, or am I going to be the bad guy?

    Can you imagine what a neurotic metrosexual her poor son is going to grow into?

    1. “No! Not the Feegans!”

      1. My mother in law fed my son a hotdog!! I love reading Slate because every day I find something that causes me to think “my God people like this actually exist”.

        1. In Tennessee, we call it “Wal-Mart Anti-depression Therapy”. Anytime you’re feeling bad about yourself you just go to a Wal-Mart and take a look around.

          BOOM! Instant self esteem boost.

          1. Watching people grocery shop at Walmart makes me feel so much better about my eating habits. It also explains why they weigh twice what I do.

            1. If you want to look thin, hang around with fat people!

          2. Yeah, except this is sort of from the opposite direction.

        2. And yet we still hope that things will change for the better in the future.

    2. Yes, you’re the bad guy. Either volunteer to cook for everybody or STFU. You taking meals, a traditionally inclusive family bonding experience, and making them divisive and offensive. Way to go, twatwaffle.

      And they won’t eat your garlic and shrimp pasta because it sucks.

      1. I’m guessing that for Christmas she “gives” them an NPR donation in their name.

      2. ^^This^^ When I was a kid and we went to my either grand parents house it was unthinkable not to eat the food given to you. It was a disrespect that my parents would have never tolerated. I can’t imagine the beating I would have taken had a thrown a fit about the food in someone’s house or demanded a special meal be made for me.

        It is amazing how times have changed. Every time someone shows up at my house with kids, they demand we cook a special meal for the little bastards because “my kids do eat this or that”. It is just outright rude and disrespectful. The idea of telling their kids to shut up and take one for the team out of politeness is totally unthinkable to these people.

        1. Yeah, I’ve got a brother in law like that. Very obnoxious yet totally oblivious.

        2. I’ve got one friend I cater to on his eating requirements because he’s allergic to shellfish and I don’t want to kill the guy. Everybody else can go screw. Here’s what I’m serving, and if you don’t like it, there are plenty of restaurants in the immediate vicinity that will cater to your needs.

          1. Unless you have a religious or a health reason to object, shut the fuck up and act like you like it. I would certainly never expect someone to break their religion or risk their health. But “little Matthew doesn’t like this. Can you please make him something he does” is just an invitation to be told to tell you and little Matthew to go fuck himself.

            1. And then little Matthew grew up to become Speaker of the House and a totally self absorbed prick.

              1. We seem to be going on our second generation of them. In this country every kid seems to be a neglected product of a broken marriage and social dysfunction or a delicate little snowflake product of helicopter parents who thinks the entire fucking world owes him a living by dint of his specialness.

        3. Every time someone shows up at my house with kids, they demand we cook a special meal for the little bastards

          Here’s how that conversation would go at Dean Mansion:

          “No.”

          1. Yes. It usually ends ugly and with my wife being angry at me for several days.

            1. Why?
              Does she want to cater to their demands or something?
              My wife would tell them to get fucked.

              1. She never seems to like me telling her family to go fuck themselves. She is a bit junior league like that.

        4. I wasn’t even given the chance to weigh in at my own house, much less anyone else’s. The “my kid won’t eat” whatever is a sign of failed parenting in my book. I know from personal experience that they’ll eat whatever you serve them for breakfast if they refuse to eat dinner.

          1. The she-spawn can’t understand why she has to sit at the dinner table, even though she doesn’t like what’s being served and isn’t having any.

            One of the few common-sense comments that our pediatrician made years ago was, “They may not eat, but they won’t starve themselves.”

            1. Bravo, JW. My dad made this exact issue a battleground for me and I am convinced it made me a better person. He was already seen as some kind of ogre even back in my day so I can’t imagine how hard it is to actually parent today.

          2. Kids who don’t eat are fucking worthless, anyway. You might as well just expose them on a rock and try to make better kids next time.

            1. I love you guys.

            2. The Tree of Woe: A Quiet Place For You To Go and Think About What You Did

    3. Can you imagine what a neurotic metrosexual PUSSY her poor son is going to grow into?

      fify

    4. Can you imagine what a neurotic metrosexual her poor son is going to grow into?

      i think you’re being a little optimistic here. I think schizophrenic homosexual control freak is probably more the likely outcome.

    5. Next thing you know the kid will be wearing glasses, putting a little wave in the front of his hair, and wearing purple and red shirts with matching ties.

  16. Fact: Newt’s space policy is actually just a logical extension of his unwavering support of Israel.

  17. By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent based [sic] on the moon. And it will be American

    Sigh.

    One small step for ‘meri-kind. Yee haw. U. S. A… We own the moon, in your face China…

    Seriously newt, you’re about as inspiring as irritable bowel syndrome.

    A far more ambitious proposal?: BLOW UP THE MOON

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Csj7vMKy4EI

    1. If his policy is just help streamline regulations and maybe stimulate investment in space, while doing something to make it clear that there are, in fact, property rights in space that the U.S. will recognize and defend, that wouldn’t be so bad. No more Visions, though.

      1. If Newt were not Newt….

    2. We have the technology. The time is now.

    3. “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent based [sic] on the moon.”

      What’s with the (sic)? I think a hairstyle based on the moon would look awesome!

    4. Seriously newt, you’re about as inspiring as irritable bowel syndrome.

      Never underestimate the inspirational power of an irritated bowel. Nothing inspires me to run, cheeks clenched tight with that “I need to shit NOW” stride, than an irritated bowel.

    5. Mister show is the shit.

      “You’re now holding my ass pennies”

  18. Newt Gingrich: Space Asshole.

    1. Pricks in Space!!!

  19. It’s about time Newt abandoned the earth for a younger, more attractive planet.

  20. Two words: Zero-G Titties.

    That is all.

    1. The jiggle never ends!

      1. As they shout in virtually every Star Trek episode; “Inertial dampers failing!”

        1. Not on TOS. In fact, the ship seemed far more reliable on the old show, and, incidentally, capable of things the newer ships aren’t. Like Warp 14.

          1. They were capable, it’s just that it voids the warranty.

            1. Kirk and Scotty–is there nothing they can’t do?

              1. Resist green women and scotch?

                1. Is there a good reason to resist either?

        2. Somebody read their Doc EE Smith.

  21. That has the makings of a great debate question.

    “Mr. Gingrich . . . no, Mr. Giongrich, you are not Speaker of the House, and I will not address you by a title you no longer hold. If I may?

    “Mr. Gingrich, you have stated your support for colonizing the Moon. Is it your intent to abandon the Earth for a younger, more attractive planet?

    “For a pedantic asshole, you are remarkably ill-informed, and your objection to my question is baseless. The Moon, while it has the orbital characteristics of a satellite, has the mass to be considered a planet.”

    1. While it has the mass and is in fact that largest moon in our solar system, it still isn’t a planet.

      1. I thought Titan was the largest moon in the SOlar system?

        1. You are right. I stand corrected.

          1. I WIN FINAL JEOPARDY!

        2. For the record, the national anthem of the future nation of Titan will be “Do the Titan Up.”

          1. Not a Black Keys fan?

  22. Does anyone else see an eerie resemblance between Newt and “John”, the Visitor Supreme Commander from the “V” miniseries? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfbMx9lNGZM

  23. Newt never talks about his alien meetings. Never. What is he trying to hide?

    1. You’re one to talk.

  24. One of these days…..One of these days……POW!!!!RIGHT IN THE KISSER!!!

    That’s how I’d like to send Gingrich to the moon.

  25. “We will have commercial near-Earth activities?that includes science, tourism, and manufacturing?that are designed to create a robust industry precisely on the model of the development of the airlines in the 1930s. Because it is in our interest to acquire so much experience in space that we clearly have a capacity that the Chinese and the Russians will never come anywhere close to matching.”

    We’re going to get that if Obama’s re-elected, too.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.