Neil DeGrasse Tyson—one of my favorite space people—was interviewed by MSNBC's Martin Bashir about Newt Gingrich's moon base plan by 2020. The short version: Newt got it wrong. The long version: watch the video.
I want the world to have a permanent base on the Moon. It will be great for the United States and humanity as a whole. Just setting up a liquid space telescope—hundreds of times more powerful than any telescope ever created—would justify it. The things we would learn as species would push civilization forward in a way we never imagined before.
But doing this by 2020 in the current situation is a pretty crazy idea... unless all the governments—US, Russia, Europe and China—put all their weight behind it. Like the US did with Apollo. Which is precisely what the Newtanaut—which his illegal idea of a US-only base funded by private companies—doesn't want to do.