Buzz Aldrin on the Future of Space Travel: 'Get Your Ass to Mars!'
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Forty-five years ago this month, Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and in time for the anniversary, Buzz Aldrin, the second man to ever walk on the moon, took to a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) to candidly answer a wide range of questions -- everything from what he thought when he first saw Earth from space, to what it was like to guest star, as himself, on 30 Rock.
But the liveliest responses from Aldrin came when he was asked about the future of missions to Mars. He said that while some may be rooting for people like Elon Musk to lead the next "monumental achievement by humanity" by sending people to the Red Planet, Aldrin wasn't convinced it should be solely executed by a private company. He believes this strategy will focus on tourism, an approach that conflicts with his his belief that our resources would be best used building a sustainable settlement, and that once humans travel to Mars, they should stay there.
"Tourism trips to Mars and back [is] just not the appropriate way...to have an individual company, no matter how smart, send people to Mars and bring them back, it is VERY very expensive," he writes. "It delays the obtaining of permanence, internationally."
Instead, he believes there needs to be an international collaboration, not a competition. "It should be a collection of the best from all the countries on Earth, and the leader of the nation or the groups who makes a commitment to do that in 2 decades will be remembered throughout history…."
In the AMA, Aldrin tied together his love for music and space travel. It turns out he is a Karen Carpenter fan, but by now, he's had his fill of a certain Frank Sinatra song. "I have heard [him] sing "Fly me to the Moon" almost too many times. So I'm interested in composing a new song, entitled 'Get your ass to Mars!'"