Sunshine State News | Bill Posey Shoots for the Moon
Bill Posey Shoots for the Moon
By Eric Giunta | Sunshine State News | April 10, 2013
U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., is leading a bipartisan congressional coalition in re-introducing a bill directing NASA to return to the moon by 2022 and to establish an American colony there.
It would be a massive project in which the Florida Space Coast likely would play a role.
“The Russians are going to the moon; the Chinese are going to the moon,” Posey tells Sunshine State News concerning HR 1446, the “REasserting American Leadership in Space Act,” or REAL Space Act. “They're not going there to bring back some rock samples and study the origins of the moon and the earth; they're going there to colonize.”
Posey is hesitant to tout the benefits his legislation would accrue to the Sunshine State's space program, downgraded under President Barack Obama. He insists his bill is an issue that “transcends parochialism and transcends partisanship.” But he can't deny that Floridians – especially his own Space Coast constituents – have much to gain from the bill's passage.
“There are many companies throughout the state of Florida that benefit from our space program, and I don't think there is a single county that doesn't have some connection with the space industry,” the congressman and former state senator admits. “But that's not the purpose of this legislation, though that's obviously a positive spin-off."
U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich received much mockery during his 2012 Republican primary campaign, for suggesting that moon colonization should be a priority for the United States; but Posey, whose congressional district includes the Kennedy Space Center, insists the nation has vital national security interests in maintaining space dominance.
“The moon is America's military high ground,” Posey tells SSN, before recounting a visit he made to Israel a couple of years ago. “I went to the [Israel-occupied] Golan Heights ... You can launch a rocket and hit anywhere down [in Israel] that you want, and they can't even see you. That's the best visual I've had of military high ground," he says, referring to Israel's interest in not having that territory in the hands of Muslim jihadists.
The bill's text refers to the importance of claiming the moon as a launching pad for the exploration of the solar system and other corners of the universe, especially Mars. Exploring and colonizing these frontiers “helps support the long-term survival of our species,” Posey says, insisting that those who take an “'I want it, I want it now, and I want the benefits now" attitude are being short-sighted.
“There's numerous benefits to space that people don't think about every day: No space? No weather report, no laptops, no wireless, no cell phones, no credit card use – it just goes on and on,” he explains. “We've got 32 critical satellites: take out half of those, and suddenly most of this country is out of business.”
The bill does not yet have a companion in the Senate. An aide in Sen. Bill Nelson's office said he would inform Florida's senior senator and one-time astronaut about the bill.
The REAL Space Act is co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Frank Wolf, R-Va., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., John Culberson, R-Texas, Steve Stockman, R-Texas, Pete Olson, R-Texas, Rob Bishop, R-Texas, and Ted Poe, R-Texas.
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