Martin Bashir | January 26, 2012
>>> if there's one thing we've learned about newt gingrich , it is that he likes to dabble in big ideas . now it seems that planet earth is just not big enough. while making a stop in florida last night, newt may have presented one of his biggest ideas to date. a space colony on the moon completed by 2020 , the end of his two-term presidency.
>> we will have the first permanent base on the moon, and it will be american.
>> this is not the first time we've heard mr. gingrich visiting outer space on the campaign trail. here he is over the summer when he had this to say.
>> the you apply the money to incentives for the private sector , we would have a permanent station on the moon, three or four permanent stations in space, a new generation of lift vehicles. what we have had is bureau kra si.
>> he better start fueling his rockets now. i'm joined by dr. neil tyson and the author of the upcoming book, "space chronicle," i have it in my hand. newt says by the time of his second presidency, because he's easily going to be re-elected, he'll have station on the moon by 2020 . is that possible?
>> he admitted that's an ambitious goal. the mnay sayers are not the engineers. they recognize that certain ambitions might not be possible. he's going to have to change the nation's understanding and valuation of what sit to embark on those adventures.
>> given the fact that he wants to destroy government intervention , government bodies , government agencies , is the private sector going to fund a station on the moon?
>> there's an imbalance here. he recognized the value of entrepreneurship in the landmarks of the birth of aviation and money to stimulate people working out of their garage to advance what became a very important industry. he then went onto say that kennedy speech launched us to the moon. you can't trash government in one sense and praising them in the other without them mentioning it was government. it was a government project that got us to the moon. it's how well-designed is your government agency to accomplish the goal you set forth.
>> we heard people like richard branson talking up shuttle trips. nothing's happened.
>> the original title of the
book was "failure to launch: the dreams and illusions". they said that's too depressing. no they will not advance the space frontier because the frontier of space is expensive. it's dangerous. that's not right for a capital market to value. the history of human exploration is one where government takes the first step. they pay for the first patents. they draw the maps. government paid for columbus voyage and louis and clark. that's who figures out what's going on and then private enterprise comes.
>> not according to newt gingrich .
>> he got it wrong. private sector is a participant with nasa on that frontier. i think that can work. i don't have a problem with that. private sector is already a participant, but not at that level.
>> we know he was speaking in florida . do you think that may have colored somewhat the speech?
>> a little bit.
>> would it have the same impact in idaho?
>> it's easy to give a speech on space in space coast florida bright there in brevard county . engineers scientists, moon launches right out of that county. that speech has to work in idaho. it's got to work in vermont where there aren't nasa centers. at the end of the day it's taxpayer money. you can't just go to the moon and mars because you feel like it because you have a couple of entrepreneurs. there's got to be a politician statement that can justify it. for me it can easily be justified if nasa itself is a force of nature on the heart and minds of the nations. it sends everybody to want to become scientists.
>> i get that. it's a powerful force in any community. that is a rocket.
>> back when the country long ago went to the moon in this.
>> a final question. i guess some of our viewers will be thinking i've got a property that's under water. i can't afford the mortgage, i've lost my job. why is this nman talking about building a space station ?
>> coming from another direction, if the nation dreams big and that percolates its way through society, the dreams are enabled by prowless in science. once everybody gets the feeling through them, they want to become scientists and engineers and participate in this adventure. scientists and engineers who are the seeds of tomorrow's economies in this competitive 21st century we're entering. i submit i want to go to the moon and mars to explore, but that's not the biggest reason to do so.