Moon, mars and statehood
Gingrich wants to go to the moon. And Mars. And build a network of space stations.

And he wants the private sector to do it.

"We will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American." he said last week.

He also resurrected an idea from earlier in his career: "When we have 13,000 Americans living on the moon they can petition to become a state."

All the space talk is providing fodder for Gingrich's political rivals, who are skeptical the private industry will devote capital with limited prospects for return on investment.

"If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I'd say' you're fired.'" Mitt Romney said during a recent debate. "The idea that corporate America wants to go off to the moon and build a colony there, it may be a big idea, but it's not a good idea."

By Charles Riley @CNNMoney - Last updated January 31 2012: 6:11 AM ET
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