Everybody's talking about heading to Mars these days. But Buzz Aldrin, legendary figure from a space long past, might actually get to the job done.
That's right: Aldrin, the Apollo astronaut best known for his 1969 moonwalk, wants to send humans to Mars too. He's got a plan for doing so, and now, a university institute. Yesterday, the Florida Institute of Technology inaugurated the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute, which will "support commercial and international development of lunar resources to support an eventual Mars settlement." Aldrin will serve as senior faculty advisor.
Like many cosmically-inclined humans, Aldrin, who holds a PhD in astronaut from MIT, has spent decades dreaming of Mars. He began to devise his "master plan" for a spacecraft system with perpetual cycling orbits between Earth and Mars in 1985. Over the years, he's refined and expanded the concept. Now dubbed "Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars," Aldrin's ambitious plan would first take humans to some of the Mars-orbiting asteroids and moons, and eventually, to the Red Planet's surface.
"I'm thrilled to be partnering with FIT in my new home state of Florida," said Aldrin at the inaugural ceremony yesterday. "I am proud of my time at NASA with the Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 programs but I hope to be remembered more for my contributions to the future. FIT will play a key role in my ongoing legacy and Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars. You ain't seen nothing yet!"
Hearing this energetic 85-year-old explain how he's going to send humans to Mars ought put the rest of us to shame. If there were a few dozen Aldrins in the world, we might already have a space colony on the Red Planet. Now, at least, we can start making up for lost time.
Picture: Buzz Aldrin on the moon, via Wikimedia