A moon colony is a waste of money
By David Frum, CNN Contributor
updated 8:04 AM EST, Mon January 30, 2012
NASA moon and ISS – current technical limit
Verne’s imagined limit
Sheppard takes Antares to the moon - previous technical limit
Gingrich meets technical and financial limits
Current acceptable technical, financial, and political limit
Cassi Creek: Base off base with current reality
Frum writes in reference to Gingrich’s promise of a moon base cum 51st state:
“The hard truth to deliver to the laid-off engineers on Florida's space coast is that space exploration is another industry where automation has reduced the number of human employees needed. To propose putting 13,000 human beings on the moon is a lot like proposing to return to the days when steel mills employed tens of thousands of people. It's not a vision of the future. It's nostalgia.”
The Gingrich proposal makes no mention of how the other nations of the world may regard such a blatant act of colonialism. While I regard our decline in funding and results for space exploration, the time has come for actual human expansion toward the stars to become a global project aimed at expanding the drive to explore and exploit our universe. No single nation should plan to colonize the moon and outer planetary bodies as we did various parts of the Earth.
Gingrich’s “moon state” is obviously intended to become a militarized base with US troops securing the moon for corporations that have paid for GOP/teavangelists to be re-elected. We have no means of transporting and sustaining a battalion or so of lunar-based troops at the outer ends of our technologic and economic reach. While there may be people desperate enough or foolish enough to sign up for a one-way trip to the moon, I don’t know of any foolish enough to sign that contract. That duty station would be grimmer and less socially rewarding than being stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan and having to live under local customs and religious laws. Yet as grim as that would be, lunar duty would demand and require an even harsher social and military contract.
If Gingrich wants to staff an all-volunteer colony on the moon, it should be his name and his ass that fill the first transport roster and seat. And it’s doubtful that he’ pass the physical or mental exam to become a colonist. His abrasive and combative nature would be likely to cost him dearly. His “I’m smarter than you all” attitude would keep him from listening to the “underlings as they explained how such necessary things as pressure suits, toilets, water sources, and airlocks work and how they had to be used.
Next episode: “Explosive decompression and sanitation modules” or “Cleanup in tunnel 5”