Buzz Aldrin: Let’s Aim for Mars

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jun 24, 2009 in Science |

I just finished reading an amazing essay by Buzz Aldrin — Buzz of course is the second human to have walked on the surface of the moon during the Summer of 1969. Aldrin is currently pushing his book new book Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon, but what has warmed my heart is that instead of reliving the past he’s pushing for the idea that NASA needs to aim higher and not just land on Mars, but build a space colony there:

“What we truly need is not more Cold War-style competition but a destination in space that offers great rewards for the risks to achieve it. I believe that destination must be homesteading Mars, the first human colony on another world.

By refocusing our space program on Mars for America’s future, we can restore the sense of wonder and adventure in space exploration that we knew in the summer of 1969. We won the moon race; now it’s time for us to live and work on Mars, first on its moons and then on its surface.”

The first thing I can think of when reading this is “President Obama you’ve got to do this!” Yes I know the same old excuses — we’re in the middle of an economic crisis and are fighting two wars abroad. Yet if you look back at the 60s it was a much more chaotic era and we seemed to be doing so much more with space exploration.

Frankly now is the logical time to reboot NASA: The era of the space shuttle is over and we already see China taking steps toward the moon and India tagging not so far behind. I’d say to let China revisit the moon, chances are they’ll beat us there any way. Instead of recreating a 60s space race with China why not do something new and go to Mars instead? Yes it’s much harder than revisiting the moon, but that’s what makes it a worthy project.

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