Image of the Day... During a speech he made in the city of Cocoa, Florida yesterday, 2012 Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich told his audience that the United States would have a permanent manned colony on the Moon by 2020 if he was elected this November. This is despite the fact the Space Launch System—which is solely designed to make this grand vision a reality—isn't scheduled to take flight with astronauts aboard till 2021, and NASA's budget will no doubt be mired in uncertainty for the rest of this decade. Just like it has been for the last two years of the previous one.
Newt Gingrich also proclaimed that he would in fact cut NASA's budget and provide more funding ($10 billion to be exact) to commercial space companies...thus relying on SpaceX and the rest of the private sector to follow through in taking us out of low-Earth orbit again. If the delayed launch of Dragon C2 from February 7 to March 20 for additional testing is any indication, I would be skeptical to think that commercial space companies will make Gingrich's 2020 goal a reality.
I would say that Gingrich's declaration to establish a lunar settlement within eight years is akin to Barack Obama assuring constituents that he would immediately close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay after being elected in 2008. Of course, that closure never came to fruition. False promises rule the day in U.S. politics.