Buzz Aldrin calls for Mars missions

Buzz Aldrin calls for Mars missions

‘BUZZ’ ALDRIN (R), THE SECOND HUMAN BEING TO SET FOOT ON THE MOON, POSES WITH EXHIBITS DURING THE STARMUS FESTIVAL IN GUIA DE ISORA, ON THE CANARY ISLAND OF TENERIFE, SPAIN, ON 20 JUNE 2011 | EPA/CRISTOBAL GARCIA

The space exploration dreams of Buzz Aldrin are still as big as they were more than 40 years ago when he saluted the American flag whilst standing on the moon.

Aldrin outlined his United Space Vision as part of the EU Science: Global Challenges and Global Collaboration (ES: GC2) conference at the European Parliament on Tuesday, 5 March. He also recounted that memorable day in 1969 when he was the second man to set foot on the moon with the Apollo 11 mission.

“Why did Neil get to walk on the moon first? Well, I liked to remind him that he was just closer to the door,” said Aldrin. But upon stepping out of the Eagle landing craft, he recalled soaking in the, “the magnificent desolation” that is our moon’s surface.

The success of the Apollo 11 mission was a result of “400,000 people working together on a common dream; even the seamstress that sewed our spacesuits together,” said Aldrin.

Putting men on the moon is one of mankind’s most notable achievements. It is the hope of Aldrin and others at the ES: GC2 to channel the same values of innovation and teamwork to further space exploration.

Getting the global population excited about space again is the first step toward discovering the unknown. Unity is bred through a common goal, and a new space commitment needs to be put out there by a leader, Aldrin said, just as President Kennedy challenged the world in 1962.

Aldrin has his sights on Mars. He has always thought the goal to be realistic, saying he thought of space tourism even back in the 1960s. Between 2035 and 2040, he believes it is within man’s grasp to have sent several missions to the planet and be working toward “colonizing and settling” it.

The 2035 goal would have appropriate timing, falling exactly 66 years since the major lunar explorations, and 66 years before that the Wright Brothers first took to the skies and sustained flight.

The United States NASA team, along with Aldrin, have been working on mapping a flight timeline and charting out specifics of how to carry out further Mars exploration. The Curiosity rover, a car-sized robot, has been exploring the planet’s Gale Crater since it’s landing on 6 August, 2012. The rover’s goals include investigating Martian climate and geology, and assessing the role of water and microbial life in the planet’s environment.

The advancements of Curiosity serve as a precursor for another unnamed 2020 NASA mission, and prompts Aldrin to call for strong American leadership in his United Space Vision.

It’s not a race; we need full commercial and international support, a community based on development, in order to have a permanent presence on the moon by 2020, Aldrin said.

“We can accomplish the impossible,” Aldrin said in his closing remarks. “I know, because I was part of the impossible dream.”

Aldrin jumped at the chance to be part of the new space frontier during the 1960s. With his knowledge of military mechanical engineering, a doctorate in astronautics from MIT and fighter pilot experience, Aldrin joined NASA in its pursuit of reaching the moon. His idea he called “rendezvous” played a key role in the Gemini space missions, which developed space travel techniques specifically utilized during Apollo.

“We were treated like heroes when we came home,” Aldrin said. “They weren’t cheering for three guys, but what we represented.” It is in this same sprit Aldrin hopes further space innovation can take place on a cooperative global scale.

Read the Original Article at News Europe Online

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