Buzz Aldrin was the second man to ever set foot on the moon, and he has some opinions about how things should go down when humans first set foot on Mars. Namely that they shouldn’t come home. Ever.
Aldrin explained his stance in an AMA on Reddit today, and it’s not that he’s just pro-stranding-people-on-an-alien-world or anything. He’s just got the bigger picture in mind.
From the AMA:
I have considered whether a landing on Mars could be done by the private sector. It conflicts with my very strong idea, concept, conviction, that the first human beings to land on Mars should not come back to Earth. They should be the beginning of a build-up of a colony / settlement, I call it a “permanence.” A settlement you can visit once or twice, come back, and then decide you want to settle. Same with a colony. But you want it to be permanent from the get-go, from the very first. I know that many people don’t feel that that should be done. Some people even consider it distinctly a suicide mission. Not me! Not at all. Because we will plan, we will construct from the moon of Mars, over a period of 6-7 years, the landing of different objects at the landing site that will be brought together to form a complete Mars habitat and laboratory, similar to what has been done at the Moon.
There’s not exactly a shortage of folks who are willing to die on Mars, Elon Musk included, so the personnel part of the plan might not be too far-fetched. NASA seems to be a bit too strapped for cash to pull it off, so maybe Aldrin and Musk can team up on their plan to give people the chance to retire on Big Red. The real trick is getting them to build a colony before they croak.