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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Space pioneer and Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. is looking toward the next giant leap, a manned mission to the planet Mars.
“It has been considered to be the ultimate mission,” said Aldrin.
Aldrin, who has written a book called Mission To Mars: My Vision For Space Exploration, is using the 45th anniversary remembrances of the moon landing as an opportunity to promote his plan for taking humans to the planet Mars.
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Aldrin has criticized NASA’s plans for a return of manned missions to the Moon which would serve as an eventual jumping-off point for a Mars mission.
His proposal for a manned mission to Mars is by way of progressive missions to comets, asteroids and Mars moon Phobos, before landing a crew on the red planet by 2035.
The plan would involve using astronauts, mineral mining experts and robotic devices to lay the groundwork and systems for permanent colonization of Mars and exploitation of its natural resources. “That’s a far, far better mission than the one we’re spending money on right now,” said Aldrin.
In a 2003 New York Times op-ed criticizing NASA’s objectives, Aldrin said sending astronauts back to the Moon was “more like reaching for past glory than striving for new triumphs.”
But the past glory still is something to be remembered.
For Aldrin, the remembrances on the 45th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing are also an opportunity to build up what’s expected to be a monumental 50th anniversary celebration of the landmark achievement. “I’m really trying to build up a very strong appreciation of exactly what we really did back in those days and how big an impact it had,” said Aldrin.