Aldrin: Next President Should Try to Colonize Mars Within 20 Years

Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk the moon, said he would encourage the next U.S. president to commit to colonizing Mars within the next 20 years.

When asked about the importance of public and private partnerships for space exploration, Aldrin said the private sector usually does a better job.

“Your greatest legacy is in front of you by making a commitment within two decades for the United States to lead international humans to permanence on the planet Mars,” Aldrin said when asked by his son, Andrew, how he would justify the need for human presence on Mars to the next president.

“This can be your legacy and the legacy of the first pilgrims that stepped foot there because we know the disadvantages of landing and then bringing people back and then landing again, and that’s wishy-washy. What do you want to do? Do you want to colonize or not? If you don’t, stay in orbit, that’s nice and safe, but somebody else will go down there. That doesn’t mean spend years in orbit. Go in there because we have fixed the surface to be a very acceptable, habitable location for growing people,” he added.

Aldrin’s comments were made at the Human to Mars Summit 2015, hosted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and George Washington University (GWU). His son, Andrew, the current president of Moon Express, moderated the discussion.

Aldrin, 85, was asked why he prefers human space exploration instead of remotely exploring space via satellites and other technology.