As one of the few humans ever to have set foot on the moon, Buzz Aldrin commands a bit of an audience when he chimes in on the state of space exploration — and he had a very strong message for a group of U.S. senators.
Aldrin believes we need to build a human base on Mars, and soon. He recently spoke to the members of the U.S. Senate's Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness during a hearing on Feb. 24 and told them just that. For Aldrin, he said the U.S. needs a presence on Mars to reassert itself as a frontrunner not only in the space race, but also as a world leader.
Even better? Aldrin has a few ideas for how to get there, and he broke down the basics of his pitch that would hopefully get the first manned mission to Mars by around 2038. Check out an excerpt from Aldrin’s comments via Space below and let us know what you think:
"In my opinion, there is no more convincing way to demonstrate American leadership for the remainder of this century than to commit to a permanent presence on Mars. Lunar settlements will only require a small step for the other nations to catch up … It’s an integrated plan that knits together return[ing] to the moon on a commercial and international basis, leveraging asteroid rendezvous, and settling Mars on a carefully developed risk-mitigation architecture. It includes the use of a robotic cycler between Mars and Earth that will revolutionize the economics and safety aspects of human missions to Mars.”
Along with Aldrin’s assessment, former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino noted that a push to settle Mars could help spur several scientific breakthroughs (much as Apollo did), while also providing an eventual second home for the human race as an “investment in our future.”
How do you think we should approach Mars? How long do you think it’ll take us to get there?