Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is pushing the idea of a sweepstakes to encourage companies like SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to handle the heavy lifting of returning humans to the moon for much less than it would cost NASA to do so, Politico reported Monday. Gingrich is apparently trying to convince President Donald Trump to back the move.
Musk is on board.
"This is a great idea," Musk tweeted.
Gingrich responded to Musk on Tuesday by tweeting, "Very cool. Thanks, Elon Musk!"
NASA is up against an extremely challenging 2024 Trump-imposed deadline for its Artemis mission to take the next man and first woman to the moon. The mission is expected to cost $20 billion to $30 billion and has already been hit with delays involving the .
SpaceX, however, is moving forward at a breakneck pace in building its, which is meant to handle missions to Earth orbit, the moon and eventually Mars. The company is assembling two different orbital prototypes.
If Gingrich's idea comes to fruition, it wouldn't be the first time that prize money has been dangled for a moon landing. The $30 million Google Lunar XPrize for an uncrewed moon-landing mission ultimately went . It still had the effect of pushing innovation. Former XPrize team in early 2019. (It instead.)
SpaceX and Blue Origin already have their eyes set on moon missions and have. A $2 billion government carrot wouldn't hurt.