When former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in February that the president may ask former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) for advice "if there's a problem on a lunar colony," he was joking.


But as it turns out, someone took Gingrich's weird pitch for a permanent presence on the moon seriously.

According to The Washington Post, the failed Republican presidential candidate has joined the advisory board of the newly formed Golden Spike Company, which aims to launch a moon tourism business for governments and the ultra-wealthy.

Gingrich famously said during the Republican primary debates that if he were elected president, America would put a colony on the moon by the end of his second term. He even said that the moon cold become America's 51st state once 13,000 people are living there.

As one might expect, he was widely mocked for the pitch, with the website Funny or Die, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" and Comedy Central's Jon Stewart piling on.

Admittedly, it is easy to mine Gingrich's dream of a lunar colony for comedy gold, but the folks at Golden Spike Company are not laughing.

The Post added that Golden Spike Company, which is named after the final spike that completed America's transcontinental railroad, was actually founded by former NASA employees. It even has the space agency's blessing.

"This type of private sector effort is further evidence of the timeliness and wisdom of the Obama Administration's overall space policy — to create an environment where commercial space companies can build upon NASA's past successes, allowing the agency to focus on the new challenges of sending humans to an asteroid and eventually Mars," NASA spokesperson David Weaver told the Post.

For now, though, it's just a beautiful dream, but once it gets going the money could start flowing from ultra-wealthy individuals and world governments hoping to stake out a claim on the lunar surface.

“We realize this is the stuff of science fiction," former NASA associate administrator Alan Stern told the Post. "We intend to make it science fact."

This video was published to YouTube on Thursday, December 6, 2012.