Yesterday Newt Gingrich revealed his "weirdest idea ever" — to provide a path to statehood for a hypothetical lunar colony.
With the help of the skilled research librarians in the Library of Congress Law Library, BuzzFeed tracked down the bill, which Gingrich called the "Northwest Ordinance for Space," or formally the "National Space and Aeronautics Policy Act of 1981."
“The Congress declares that the United States is committed to the expansion of free people and free institutions into space,” the bill stated, calling for an array of near earth and solar space travel vehicles to be completed by 2010.
It also called for the creation of "an environmentally acceptable space to Earth power capability that is economically competitive with power generation on Earth," by the year 2000.
Gingrich appears to have misstated the number of lunar colonists required for a space-based outpost to apply for statehood — the number is 20,000 for self-government in the original bill, not the 13,000 he mentioned yesterday. Statehood requires the population of the least populous state — or greater than Wyoming's 563,626 people in the 2010 Census.
Read the full bill below:
Updated population count to clarify between self-government and statehood.