Aldrin: 'Mars is the Next Frontier for Humankind'
Buzz Aldrin fields questions at a Hollywood premier in 2008. Today he has issued a public statement on the realities of spaceflight (Ian O’Neill)
This certainly isn’t a surprise, considering Buzz Aldrin has been advocating manned missions to destinations other than the moon for some time, but it’s certainly worth hearing what the second man on the moon has to say about today’s announcement about NASA’s shake-up.
In a nutshell, Aldrin supports President Obama’s revised vision for NASA space exploration. This means canceling a return trip to the lunar surface and concentrating on other destinations first, pushing the envelope of human endeavor.
Here’s the full text of Aldrin’s press release (via The Office of Science and Technology Policy):
Statement from Buzz Aldrin: A New Direction in Space
I personally agree with many of his points, especially the part about “pushing the boundaries to achieve new and challenging things beyond Earth.” However, I’m dubious as to when this new and invigorated vision for NASA is going to take shape.
Scrapping the Constellation Program (or a large portion of it) is one thing, developing a more realistic replacement is quite another. I suppose we’ll have to remain patient to see how Congress reacts to the White House’s new vision before we can start over-analyzing the future of manned exploration of the solar system.
What do you think? Is Buzz’s enthusiasm on the money? Or do you think it’s misplaced? Canceling a 9 billion dollar program just to start over may sound wasteful, but will a fresh look at this challenging issue stimulate not only NASA but develop an exciting prospect for commercialized spaceflight?