Rebuilding American Space Leadership: Cycling Pathways to Mars

  • Mar 3, 2016
  • buzzaldrin.com
  • By: Buzz Aldrin

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today, not as a Republican, or as a Democrat, certainly not as an advisor to any candidate, but as an American patriot willing to help all candidates ensure that our great nation remains the leader in space for decades to come.

Americans are historic explorers, and the world’s leader in human space exploration. Mars is America’s next destination; if we do not lead there, others will. Americans have a unique opportunity – through application of the “cycling pathways” approach – to getting out to Mars, and staying there.
Personally, I have lived through a lot of “firsts.” Many in this room have. “Firsts” in science and exploration require a special kind of leadership, the sort that is defined by courage. Our nation needs to find that sort of courage again, needs to start “breaking the code” again on human space exploration.

Like all big undertakings, journeys and campaigns, the act of reaching a faraway destination, building national enthusiasm, and completing the mission – begins with a first step. I know about those. My friend Neil Armstrong and I took a few of those over 46 years
ago. It is time for America to start doing that again. That is the heart of my challenge to you all – in this room – today.

Most of you will outlive me, but America’s leadership legacy in space – crystalized in our next steps, on the surface of Mars – will outlive us all. It is now, on our watch, in this moment, at this exact time,
that we must prove ourselves equal to this challenge – and get this courageous, exploring, spacefaring nation back on track, and out to the surface of Mars, to continue Mankind’s unending legacy of exploration.

It will take you leading the American people to say “yes” to the mission – and yes to a system I call Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars. Cycling Pathways is an engineering approach, technically sound and ready to be put into practice, not a destination. The physics is
all there. Moreover, continuing refinements at Purdue, MIT, and Florida Tech confirm that – if we start now –successful human landings for continuous occupancy can reach Mars by 2040

As technical papers confirm, my present cycler architecture emphasizes reusability, with resupply for low cost transfers of crews. This really can be done. The earthbound equivalent would be the economies
created by ferry boats ferrying passengers back and forth across rivers. Cycling Spacecraft and two or more Mars landers with redundant propulsion will intercept the cycler swinging-by Earth for a six month transfer to Mars or its moon Phobos. The Mars Base incorporates improved technologies developed earlier at the similar designed Lunar Base. Telerobotic Mars base assembed from Phobos will duplicate the Telerobotic assembly of the International Lunar Base from a U.S. spacecraft station close by in Lunar orbit. These expanded
activities are much improved over Apollo.

Choosing to lead with various cycler systems not only puts America back to the forefront of human space exploration, but offers a significant way to bring together all other space-faring nations, especially China – and those others we can bring forward to a
world-wide sharing for the greatest human endeavor in history. Presidential leadership in this initiative would improve, extend and celebrate American exceptionalism, in a way that no other policy or program could!

“Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars” must be organized progressively, with a decision made to go now, full throttle up. As Neil and I said, standing as proud Americans, from our exceptional Nation with the world behind us: “We came in peace for all Mankind.” We Americans do these things, think big, act on our dreams, then look back and bring the world along with us. So to this room full of leaders, let me say, this is the time to venture outward again – much further in space, bringing humanity out to Mars, making history there – as we Americans have here.

Listen closely to my challenge – The President who appeals to our higher angels and takes us closer to the heavenly body we call Mars, will not only make history – he will long be remembered as a pioneer for Mankind to reach, to comprehend and settle Mars. And if not now, when? And if not us, who? I appeal to you take up the challenge and bring us all along. From the wild blue yonder, with giant leaps to this waiting island in the blackness of space. This is the time. This is OUR time. This is YOUR time.

It is an honor to be here with you and I salute those who have the courage to lead this great Nation forward, taking the next advances which are our destiny. As Ronald Reagan said, “We Americans have a rendezvous with destiny”. Let’s go!

God bless America.

Your supporter and dedicated warrior,
MarsGuy Buzz

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4 Responses to “Rebuilding American Space Leadership: Cycling Pathways to Mars”

  1. Denis Pooley says:

    Yes. Great speech Buzz!!
    You are an inspiration, and I would follow you anywhere.
    We should go.
    I agree with the other post, that it may have fallen on polite deaf ears.
    No matter, you are lighting the fire.
    Let the politicians see Russia or China promote the same bold plan, and they would wake up very quickly.
    Russia with their Sputnik did that for JFK.
    I guess it is the root of human nature. We need a competitor to make it happen.

  2. Great speech Buzz ! I fear though that it fell on politely deaf ears. Certainly if Newt Gingrich had become POTUS you’d be taken seriously, but I don’t see anyone in today’s field of candidates implementing your excellent plan.

  3. Divided79 says:

    “We Americans have a rendezvous with dentistiny” ? 0.0
    xD
    This is the time. This is OUR time. This is YOUR time.

  4. Ben Heideveld says:

    Great speech. We choose to go to Mars because it is hard. The cycling pathway is like John Houbolt’s et al. Lunar Orbit Rendezvous, an essential stepping stone without which the mission would certainly not have been completed before the decade was out. Let me add this, much like a voice from the wilderness 🙂 we need artificial gravity on the trans Mars coast, or astronauts, exercise as they may, will be too much muscle atrophied to actually walk on the 38% (of Earth) gravity on the Mars surface. This may already be achieved by having two mutually redundant modules spun up on a, say, 300 meter long tether to keep astronauts in health centrifugal Earth gravity all the way to Mars orbit. The length of the tether serves to keep the Coriolis forces down to manageable levels. On the way back, the assembly could be spun down at first to accommodate the surface dwellers, only to be spun back up to Earth gravity over a week or two.