NewsMax on July 8, 2014, reported that moon-walking astronaut Buzz Aldrin predicted people will be on Mars within two decades, but said those Red Planet pioneers “should not come back to Earth.” Excerpts below:
Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon (after Neil Armstrong) during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, responded to questions on the website Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” feature, promoting the 45th anniversary of the historic moon landing July 20.
“There is very little doubt, in my mind, that the next monumental achievement of humanity will be the first landing by an Earthling, a human being, on the planet Mars,” Aldrin wrote, adding: “I expect that within 2 decades . . . America will lead an international presence on Planet Mars.”
“I have considered whether a landing on Mars could be done by the private sector,” he wrote. “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.”
He even confesses to a frightening moment during the Apollo mission and acknowledges it was all his fault.
“After leaving the surface of the moon and completing a successful rendezvous with Mike Collins in the command module, as we approached connecting/docking, the procedures in the checklist said one thing, and I thought maybe doing it a slightly different way, rolling and pitching instead of something else, and I thought that was better on the spur of the moment!” he wrote.
“It turns out that it was not a good thing to do, because it caused the platform to become locked, and we were not able to use the primary thrusters, the primary guidance, to control the spacecraft, to its final few feet to dock and join the other spacecraft. That was my mistake.
“I suggested to my commander that we do it differently, and it was his mistake to assume that I knew what I was talking about. So, we both made mistakes — brought about by me! We recovered successfully on the ‘abort guidance’ system.”
The moon experience itself, he wrote, was both “magnificent” and “desolate.”
“My first words of my impression of being on the surface of the moon that just came to my mind was ‘magnificent desolation’,” he wrote.
“The magnificence of human beings, humanity, Planet Earth, maturing the technologies, imagination and courage to expand our capabilities beyond the next ocean, to dream about being on the moon, and then taking advantage of increases in technology and carrying out that dream — achieving that is magnificent testimony to humanity. But it is also desolate — there is no place on Earth as desolate as what I was viewing in those first moments on the lunar surface.”