Jeffrey Goldberg is not what one might call a Newt Gingrich fan, but as he sat on the tarmac at Reagan National Airport gazing at the space shuttle Discovery as it prepared for its final flight, he realized something: "On the matter of space exploration … Newt Gingrich is exactly right." With no immediate plans to put Americans back into space, the US space program is "aimless." Writing for Bloomberg, Goldberg argues that "every year that goes by without a grand vision for space exploration [is] a year in which thousands of students otherwise inclined to study science fail to discern its romantic and heroic possibilities."
Goldberg spoke to Gingrich about his views, and Gingrich continued to stand by his proposal that the US should establish a moon colony, using mostly private funding. The GOP candidate voiced his belief that a moon colony is inevitable, though he noted it could end up being built by China's hands. Goldberg applauds the romance of his idea, noting that while we're succeeding at unmanned space exploration, there's no romance in that—and romance was what propelled us to the moon once before. "Gingrich would make a lousy NASA chief, and I wouldn’t trust him with private money, either," Goldberg writes. "But I would hire him as the space program’s resident philosopher and noodge." Click for his full column.