Satellite photo of Mars.
Buzz Aldrin, the second human to walk on the moon, is openly questioning NASA’s priorities.
“As I approach my 80th birthday, I’m in no mood to keep my mouth shut any longer when I see NASA heading down the wrong path,” he recently told Popular Mechanics magazine. “And that’s exactly what I see today. The agency’s current Vision for Space Exploration will waste decades and hundreds of billions of dollars trying to reach the moon by 2020 ~ a glorified rehash of what we did 40 years ago. Instead of a steppingstone to Mars, NASA’s current lunar plan is a detour.”
He admits the moon is interesting scientifically, but believes Mars holds much more potential for a human colony.
“It’s much more terrestrial,” he tells the New York Times. “ It has a thin atmosphere and a day/night cycle that is very similar to ours. It has seasons. Russia perhaps is still entertaining the possibility that the moons of Mars might have access to ice or water.”
His comments come just as the Obama administration is reviewing NASA’s human spaceflight program. Aldrin hopes the review committee will heed him and other NASA critics and scrap the Ares rockets currently under development. He recommends NASA adapt existing satellite-launching rockets to carry a crew capsule so that NASA could spend its time, money, and energy establishing a Martian outpost.
Click here for the Discover magazine article.