Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Posted By Cliff Tuttle | January 29, 2012

No. 804

Newt Gingrich has been taking some heat over suggesting that the United States plan to establish a permanent settlement on the Moon.  You would think he had suggested colonizing a couple of countries in the Middle East.

What is so crazy about planning a lunar colony?  It makes a lot more sense, in terms of pure logic, than the first race to the moon, begun 50 years ago.  That was a wild-eyed adventure if there ever was one.  Nobody had any idea how all of the scientific problems that lay in the way would ever be solved.  All we had was faith and that unique American optimism that sometimes borders on insanity. In the end, it took us less than a decade.

Compared to the scientific complexity of putting a man on the Moon, the Manhattan Project was a piece of cake.  But of course, these two great scientific achievements had one powerful thing in common.  A dangerous enemy who was trying to gain military supremacy.

Yes, if we had a credible enemy who was trying to establish a military base on the Moon, you can bet that the United States would be energized. But who can be sure that there isn’t such an enemy with such a plan? Like China.

Do you think the Chinese would tell us if they were working on a Moon mission?  They could do it, you know. Our best Universities, including CMU, graduate hundreds of native Chinese PhD’s in every high-tech field needed for such an endeavor.  Thanks to our immigration policies, almost all of them must return home.

But the Chinese probably don’t even need so many highly-trained scientists to do the job.  They also have highly-trained spies. Unlike 1961, most of the required technology is already in existence.  Much of it is installed on the international space station. So what are we waiting for?  Another Sputnik moment?

In one respect, the Moon will be the perfect colony.  There will be no natives to displace or exploit.  There will be no fragile environment to degrade. There will be just us, the intrepid American explorers.

Lets do it! Don’t worry about making it pay for itself. We’ll probably start discovering new things about the universe on the very first day.  And ten years out, we’ll all be telling ourselves how smart we were and how rich we’ve become.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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