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A moon colony for the economy?

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module Pilot, stands near a scientific experiment on the lunar surface. Man's first landing on the Moon occurred July 20, 1969.

So last night's Republican presidential debate in Florida covered a lot of ground, but it also covered space.

Specifically, the four candidates talked about how important Florida's space industry is and how much the country should invest in space. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich grabbed the most headlines with his proposal to establish a "moon colony".

In today's Mid-day Extra, we look at how much such a plan would really cost -- and if it is worth it.

To tell us about the pros and cons, we have Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.

He says that to some extent, the mention of building up space program in Florida might be a strategic move for politicians hoping to get voters on their side. But at the same time, building up a space program -- even one focused on the moon -- has a lot of secondary benefits, like creating a society that ones again values scientific development.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.
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Thank you for clarifying this from a investor’s perspective; now I can see it for what it really is. More than just a patriotic rallying cry to give Americans something to cheer on as their tax dollars and fiscal concerns evaporate into space, it’s the next stage of securitized lending after the subprime housing bubble has been jettisoned. If you think it was difficult for government to keep track of spending on private contractors in Iraq, just wait until cronies get their hands on this moondoggle. This isn’t the sixties, and Newt is about as far from JFK as it gets.

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