Yes, “Gingrich” and “right” in the same sentence is very strange: Saturday Night Live managed to successfully mock this derided idea in a recent well received sketch (which I thought was reminiscent of that show’s style from the ’70s). Here is a differing perspective presented by Robert T. Gonzalez on io9.com:
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has promised us a permanent Moon base by 2020. Many people have been calling Newt’s vow a publicity stunt, while others have chimed in by attacking the idea of a lunar base in and of itself, with assertions like “real scientists know [a Moon base] is fantasy.” We won’t speak to Newt’s political maneuverings, but we’re sure as hell not going to sit idly by while people bash the feasibility or scientific potential of a lunar settlement. In fact, we’ve got 185 reasons we should set a course straight away …
An Off-World Energy Source: We spoke to astrophysicist Michael Shara — curator of the astrophysics department at the American Museum of Natural History — about the scientific potential of a permanent Moon base, and one of the first things to come up was lunar resource utilization.
“Lunar geology is in its infancy,” he explained. “Helium 3 and rare earth element mining would be a major industry.” What is Helium-3? Remember the stuff they were mining in Duncan Jones’ Moon? That was helium-3 — a non-radioactive isotope of helium with huge potential in nuclear fusion research and alternative energy applications. Yes it really exists, yes it really is rare on Earth, and yes it really could make a one-way-trip to the Moon totally worth it. Not only would it make for a great off-world alternative energy source, it would also provide on-site support for expansion and development on the Moon itself.
Read More from Robert T. Gonzalez on io9.com