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Interview: “Warren Ellis Thinks Newt Gingrich’s Space Ideas Are Full of Shit”

Over on Motherboard , Abraham Reisman interviewed Warren Ellis about Newt Gingrich’s aspirations for a USA moon colony. We figured Mr Ellis might have a word or two on Gingrich’s obvious vote grabbing statement. Mr Ellis did not disappoint.

The following excerpts are just a few choice moments from the interview. It was a bit difficult deciding which thoughts were best.

Abraham Reisman: What kind of merit is there to Gingrich’s proposals — which he’s self-described as “grandiose” — for developing a rocket that can reach Mars, establishing a permanent moon base, and so on?

Warren Ellis: Well, let’s start with the “51st State” bit that’s being bandied about. Speaker Gingrich knows as well as the next political mammal that the Outer Space Treaty forbids any one nation from claiming sovereignty over the moon. So, not so much with the 51st State crap.


Going to Mars is important. Going back to the Moon is, I think, important. But his plans and reasons for going make about as much sense as if he had said we had to go to Mars to find him something new to marry. I’m genuinely interested in seeing the human race escape the planet and go exploring. Speaker Gingrich would like to be elected.

Are there other technological goals on the scale of space travel that you think humanity should be pushing for, right now? If so, do you see models for us achieving them?

I’m not sure where everyone got the idea that the human race can only do one thing at a time. “What about here on Earth?” people say. “Shouldn’t there be other goals here that we should be pushing for?” Sure there are. But at this late date I’m fairly sure we’ve mastered walking and chewing gum as a simultaneous operation.

I’m not suggesting that we can’t do two things at once. But if there were things in addition to space travel that you think could have a similarly massive effect on humanity’s ability to grow as a species…

Curing cancer. Increasing quality human longevity. Induced pluripotential cell treatments. Nailing down that weird neutrino anomaly that seems to allow for faster-than-light communication. The usual shopping list. Also I want an orbital death ray.

You will read the entire interview on Motherboard.

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