Newt Gingrich would like to make the movie “Moon” into real life

I’m at least thrilled that Gingrich has one policy idea that I could fully embrace. He wants start “a massive new program to build a permanent lunar colony to exploit the Moon’s resources.” He has suggested that “a mirror system in space could provide the light equivalent of many full moons so that there would be no need for nighttime lighting of the highways.”

That’s right, New Gingrich wants to make the movie “Moon” into reality. What? You haven’t seen this movie? Here is the IMDb plot:

With only three weeks left in his three year contract, Sam Bell is getting anxious to finally return to Earth. He is the only occupant of a Moon-based manufacturing facility along with his computer and assistant, GERTY. The long period of time alone however has resulted in him talking to himself for the most part, or to his plants. Direct communication with Earth is not possible due to a long-standing communication malfunction but he does get an occasional message from his wife Tess. When he has an accident however, he wakens to find that he is not alone. He also comes to realize that his world is not what he thought it was.

Here’s the trailer!

The movie really is good, so go watch it! But let’s also discuss Gingrich’s idea to make this future of a Moon powered earth into a reality. I would support that he goes the entire way into adding clones to the mixture. Mr. Gingrich, I will fully support your effort to clone humans and send them to the moon to send power back to earth. This is one diutopian future you and I can agree upon. And here ends the list of things Newt Gingrich and I agree about.

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9 responses to “Newt Gingrich would like to make the movie “Moon” into real life

  1. The plot of “Moon” is kind of silly and unrealistic, but everything else about the film is good enough (including the soundtrack) to make it an unexpectedly enjoyable movie. But giant lunar moons to reflect light down on Earth roadways?! As if there’s not enough nighttime light pollution already?!

    We should send Gingrich to the moon, so he can get a head start on the mining operations. “Honest Newt — you can come back in three years…”

    • The acting in “Moon” was great. I think it’s great for Gingrich to start proposing ideas that don’t deal with repealing child labor laws. It’s also a nice departure from the Republican obsession on drilling. I think Gingrich should take a cue from Kennedy. The space race worked out well for him.

    • Why oil? I seem to recall this game from computing’s dinosaur days called “SimCity” where one of the best renewable power sources was solar power from satellites in space. I imagine the Moon would work fine for that too.

      • By the way, Cain’s 999 tax plan also is from SimCity. It’s a weird day when major, electable politicians are taking policy cues from video games.

  2. So not that it’s very relevant to the discussion, but here’s some thoughts on energy applications and other resources on the moon and how this moon base could actually work. There are actually books on this sort of stuff and I have read one of them. “Moon Race” if I remember correctly. Then there’s the three years of hanging out with other people who want to go to the moon.

    Just because we have mirrors on the moon that you can see from Earth (retroreflectors) doesn’t mean reflecting sunlight is a great source of power. We are getting much better at wireless power transmission, but we are still a decade or more away from being able to move vast quantities of power (like for powering, say, NYC) around. Moving energy through space is nice because of the vacuum, but once you hit the atmosphere and the ionosphere and the Earth’s magnetic field all your power transmission becomes a lot more difficult.

    Actually, the energy alternative presented in “Moon” is a much more feasible solution. Once something gets to the moon, getting it back to earth is much easier since you aren’t fighting the Earth’s gravity and atmosphere to get off the ground. Going back through the atmosphere is actually a lot simpler than getting out of it. So use return capsules instead of beaming power.

    So what goes inside the capsules?

    Exactly what is in them in “Moon” for starters: He3. Or the energy produced from a He3 fusion plant. Physicists have said for a while that He3 is the best material for nuclear fusion. It yields no radioactive waste. It doesn’t occur naturally on the Earth but exists in abundance on the moon. We only need it in small quantities. Since it isn’t from Earth, there are no ecosystems to be disrupted or ozone layer to burn holes in. A truly “clean” form of energy if I ever saw one.

    Out of all “alternative energy” sources available to us in nearly unlimited , reliable quantities (I’m looking at you, hydroelectric and wind): solar, geothermal, biomass, fission and fusion, fusion power is the highest energy density and the cleanest (I can go into why the others aren’t great, but that’s another time). Problem is the tech isn’t there. Why? Because no one wants to fund it, it’s been the pipe dream of the physics world for the last half century. It’s been done, but the conditions required for fusion are so laughably ridiculous on earth that unless we found a way to do it a lower temperatures (called cold fusion, but still hot enough to burn your face off) it is highly impractical.

    So we build the plant on the moon. Need a perfect vacuum? No problem, there’s no atmosphere on the moon. Need ludicrously high temperatures? Well if you build it in an area of near-perpetual sunshine the surface temperature will be at 120C to start. Then you can get things as hot as you want because there is no firecode for the moon, and besides the structures built to specifically to reach those temperatures and contain the reaction, there wouldn’t have to be any nearby homes to endanger or forests to burn down or people to keep cool. And property is cheap so size isn’t a factor. But who builds it and maintains it? Robots, of course! Robots can build everything from the ground up, utilizing the native materials (which are abundant and easily accessible on the moon). All we need to do is send the robots and the key electronic components up and the rest can be done with automation while we humans stay all nice and cozy on Earth.

    This all sounds like science fiction, but it is all theoretically possible and the returns would be limitless. All it needs is the funding and about 20 years.

    So in summary, giant mirrors aren’t the way to go. Fusion is much easier to do on the moon than on earth. Do everything with robots and all the tricky accommodations necessary for maintaining life on a rock in space go away. Don’t worry about killing the environment because there is none. Package the energy and shoot it back to earth in capsules.

    • Actually the book is “Moon Rush” by Dennis Wingo. An inspired view of a future that can support humanity by using the moon as the bountiful resource that it is. Most of the key technology concepts for this vision exist already, they just need the funding to be advanced and developed into reality.

    • That was a nice response. What I find interesting about Gingrich and the ‘space mirrors’ comments is that I think he does lean ‘forward’ on technology and science issues, and he seems smart enough to grasp that some of this stuff could be a reality. However, he’s fixed in a party of anti-science, so what would he actually do about renewable energy and new technology? His back pedaling on climate change begins to strip away his science-minded credibility. Thanks for detailing what it would really take to make moon technology a reality. And remember, plants on Mars.

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