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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Call for X-Prizes

  residential candidate Newt Gingrich on X-prizes
It is a tragedy that between bureaucrats and politicians we have reduced NASA to the point where we are relying on Russian rockets to get to the space station.

I would call for a total replacement of the current structure of NASA with a brand new system that is aggressively designed to challenge free enterprise,....If you had taken 5 or 10 percent of the NASA budget in the last decade and put it into a prize for the first people to get to the Moon permanently, you’d have 20 or 30 folks out there getting to the Moon. We’d already be on the Moon, and the energy level would be unbelievable.
  I agree and perhaps more importantly, no other candidate has decided it would increase their credibility to dispute it. However note the sums he is talkng about.

  NASA's budget has been about $18bn - £11.3 bn to us. 5% of that is £570 million. By comparison our contribution to the European Space agency, which overall controls a budget half the size of NASA's but achieves nothing serioyus, is £265 million annually. The amount we spend on NERC (Natural Enbironment Rersearch Council), one of a number of quangos exiisting to advertise eco-scares and with no significant actual research to its name, has a budget of £450 million.

    That is a total of £715 milliion, comfortably exceeding Newt's careful and undisputed assessment of what could have produced a Moon colony and presumably way stations to get there.

    If it works for the US does anybody dispute it would for Britain? If any British politician didn't prefer wasting the money on bureaucrats and Luddites.
House of Lords Science Committee discusses prizes p24 #31-33

Remarks in Hansard on X-Prizes
Capturing the promise of philanthropic prizes report

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Sounds good to me. And what a fillip it would give British industry.
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