Twitter's all abuzz with the latest comedic responses to Newt's outrageous idea that he's going to get America to the Moon and colonized by 2020: In just 8 short years.
Like hell that's going to happen.
Because George Bush promised the exact same thing not too long ago in 2003--laying out a grand vision to get America into space, on the Moon and onto Mars...just as he was finished gearing up to go to war with Iraq.
Not long after that...? All the promised funding for George Bush's "grand vision to space" took a flying leap into the next dimension; as the war sucked up what little funding remained for NASA and promptly dumped into a neverending war.
The space agency got bumpkiss as a result. At that time, NASA was already facing budget woes of its own and had been forced to scale back a lot of its expensive (yet promising) space projects that would open future doors to space exploration.
Sadly...that dream is now dead with the space shuttle fleet in retirement and the Constellation program in limbo or being reduced to a smaller version of its larger self.
Newt Gingrich's plans to take us to the Moon and beyond will face a similar fate--especially if he's all gung-ho about taking us to Iran first over fabricated intelligence, lies, fear-mongering...whatever Newt will use in order to convince Americans at large that Iran is a direct threat to America or her interests, and needs to be dealt with militarily. (Yes, we've heard this story before from one George Bush on Iraq before we invaded and wasted nine long years on a fool's errand.)
The sad truth is, we're not ready to go to the Moon and beyond. Our education, science, and space program budgets have all been curtailed severely by state and federal governments. We lack the knowledge and the know-how to go back into space. To build on a grand dream or vision laid out by candidates and Presidents alike.
Obama was smart enough not to lay one out on his own because he knew that we wouldn't have the money for such a foolish venture. With our country broke, coming out of the Great Recession (or Lesser Depression--whichever way you look at it), and everything a giant mess left behind by Dubya himself...? We lack the tools and the manpower to embark on such a majestic trip.
To put it bluntly, America's space race is dead. The dream of going beyond Earth orbit has died with us after years of budget cuts and lack of serious scientific/technological advances in the last 30 years. We're still working on the old Apollo program hardware specs instead of building something that resembles something out of Star Trek.
Newt thinks he can jumpstart things by offering anyone a $10 billion dollar bribe for the first commercial venture to make it to Mars and back. And the truth is, commercial spaceflight is woefully in its infancy, okay?
We're decades away from the first viable commercial spaceflight that goes into Earth orbit and comes back a success. What's on the drawing boards at most of the major commercial spaceflight pioneers (Space X, Virgin Galactic, etc...) is only a hint of a possible future.
They are simply not ready to go into space, go to the Moon, and then onto Mars in just 8 short years.
They are going to need time and billions in investments before something viable comes out of the pipeworks.
In the meantime, America will languish. America will flounder. America is not going to be reaching any milestones in the near future. Not until we start putting more money into science and education. Technology and innovation--instead of wasting trillions on useless oil wars that only serve to enrich the few in this country while putting the rest of us into poverty.
Because that's where we are headed first.
And yes, China will beat us to the Moon again. And colonize it. Because they aren't blowing huge wads on war and destruction like we have.