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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Spaceman Newt

Author: Guest Writer/Friday, January 27, 2012/Categories: Uncategorized

You gotta like Newt, the giant-headed Republican candidate for president who's going to take us back to the moon. There are two ways to love him.

First, as the real-life incarnation of Steve Austin, the congressional candidate from 30 Rock who wanted casinos on the moon:

Second, as a legitimate person with actual ideas knocking around in that giant globe on his shoulders.

He wants to have a permanent moon base by the end of his second term. So we can mine them for rare minerals.

Floridians -- whose economy will take a hit if NASA's budget reenters Earth orbit -- cheered

The Washington Post takes a (mostly) serious look at his plan. A couple of the analysts reporter Joel Achenbach talked to called the plan "aggressive."   "Aggressive" is code for "difficult." Especially given the fact that Newt is proposing spending only $2 billion a year on the project. 

The Atlantic reviewed science fiction literature about a moon base, and science fiction -- as the natural arbiter of what is and isn't realistic -- reveals that it "isn't so crazy."

As Mother Jones points out, Newt's head has always been in the stars. (It's just that big.) Their research is worth quoting at length:

He proposed a "Northwest Ordinance for Space" in 1984 to establish a path to statehood for colonies in space; he proposed putting a system of giant mirrors in the atmosphere to light city streets at night and reduce crime; and he suggested that with enough government investment and/or private initiative, we might someday have colonies on the moon devoted to mining high-value minerals. For these ideas (and a few more), he earned the nickname "Newt Skywalker" from his colleagues.

And 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."

Consider that, in space, cookie/nookie-loving Newt would weigh the same as Emma Stone, and you understand some of his attraction. (On the Moon, Newt weighs only 36 pounds. Very svelte.)

Mitt Romney, Newt's main rival for the Republican nomination for president, dismisses all this as wasteful. But if it's Newt vs. Obama in the general election, we will have genuinely different visions of space to choose from. 

While Newt wants to secure America's hold on the rock we conquered back in 1969, Obama wants to touch down on new worlds.

Obama wants to send men to a near-Earth asteroid. And you know that if a black president is sending men to an asteroid, that asteroid was headed for Earth. Diversion mission! Fire the rockets! I love you Liv Tyler!


Obama's eyeing Mars after that.

No word from Newt on what sex might be like there.

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