Buzz Aldrin calls for 'great migration of humankind to Mars'

Humanity must make a giant leap in space exploration and begin the process of migrating to Mars, argues Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

The 89-year-old said a 'great migration' is necessary not only for the sake of exploration but for the ongoing survival of the human race.

Aldrin advocated for a spirit of international collaboration, based on the work being undertaken on the International Space Station, with America taking the lead.

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Humanity must make a giant leap in space exploration and begin the process of migrating to Mars, argues Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin (pictured)

Humanity must make a giant leap in space exploration and begin the process of migrating to Mars, argues Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin (pictured)

Buzz Aldrin, along with fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins, landed on the moon almost 50 years ago.

They did this with a mission, Aldrin wrote in an opinion piece in the Connecticut paper Washington Post.

'Apollo 11 aimed to prove America's can-do commitment to space exploration, as well as its national security and technological superiority.'

'We did all that. We also "Came in Peace for all Mankind"'

'More of that is needed now.' 

Mr Aldrin's comments follow from US Vice President Mike Pence's recent announcement that NASA is planning a new manned mission to the moon.

'I am with him, in spirit and aspiration,' said Buzz.

'Having been there, I can say it is high time we returned.'

Buzz Aldrin (pictured, left), along with fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong, landed on the moon almost 50 years ago

Buzz Aldrin (pictured, left), along with fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong, landed on the moon almost 50 years ago

'Today, many nations have eyes for the moon, from China and Russia to friends in Europe and [the] Middle East. That is all good.'

However, Mr Aldrin proposes that the United States should not only co-operate but also 'offer itself as a willing team leader in exploring every aspect of the moon.'

Such an endeavour, he argues, would extend up to the moon the open and eager spirit of co-operation presently seen surrounding the activities of the International Space Station.

A great migration to Mars is necessary not only for the sake of exploration but for the ongoing survival of the human race, Mr Aldrin argued (stock image)

A great migration to Mars is necessary not only for the sake of exploration but for the ongoing survival of the human race, Mr Aldrin argued (stock image)

However, it is the red planet that Mr Aldrin thinks needs to become the long-term focus of NASA's attention.

'Mars is waiting to be discovered,' said Aldrin.

'Not by clever robots and rovers - though I support NASA's unmanned missions - but by living, breathing, walking, talking, caring and daring men and women.'

Buzz said that, for this to actually happen, members of congress, the administration and the American public must all push to make the human exploration of Mars a national priority. 

‘To be clear, I do not mean spending billions of taxpayer dollars on a few hijinks or joy rides, allowing those who return to write books, tweet photos and talk of the novelty,’ said Aldrin.

‘I mean something very different.’

Both the US and the wider international community, Aldrin said, 'should focus on opening the door, in our time, to the great migration of humankind to Mars.'

'Books aplenty have been written about how to do this, and they have inspired government and non-government leaders to make lofty plans, he added.

'But plans without a detailed architecture, and without that "next step" into the future, are just fantasy.'

‘To be clear, I do not mean spending billions of taxpayer dollars on a few hijinks or joy rides, allowing those who return to write books, tweet photos and talk of the novelty,’ said Aldrin.

‘To be clear, I do not mean spending billions of taxpayer dollars on a few hijinks or joy rides, allowing those who return to write books, tweet photos and talk of the novelty,’ said Aldrin.

'Americans are good at writing fantasy, and incomparable at making the fantastic a reality. We did it with Mercury, Gemini, Apollo - and in thousands of other ways,' he said. 

It is time to work on developing blueprints, architecture and planning for the next step, Aldrin said, which would entail a sustainable international return trip to the moon.

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