26 Jan '12, 1am
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich vows to establish moon colony by 2020 if elected
Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich speaks at a Space Coast town hall Jan 24, 2012 at a hotel in Cocoa, Florida. -- PHOTO: AFP COCOA, Florida (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is promising to establish a permanent base on the moon by 2020 if he's elected. Gingrich, the former House speaker, told an overflow crowd gathered on Florida's space coast on Wednesday that he wants to develop a robust commercial space industry in line with the airline boom of the 1930s. He also wants to expand exploration of Mars. The pronouncements appeared to thrill the crowd of roughly 700 people. Florida's space coast is still suffering from a recent round of federal cuts to the space programme. But how would Mr Gingrich pay for it? The Republican presidential contender says he wants to offer prizes to help stimulate investment by the private sector.