Buzz Aldrin says US must colonize Mars

May 08, 2013 by Kerry Sheridan
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is pictured on April 13, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Aldrin, the American astronaut who was the second man to walk on the Moon, said Wednesday that the United States must lead the way toward building a permanent settlement on Mars.

Buzz Aldrin, the American astronaut who was the second man to walk on the Moon, said Wednesday that the United States must lead the way toward building a permanent settlement on Mars.

Speaking at a conference of space experts in the US capital, the 83-year-old said the should apply what it learned decades ago by reaching the moon toward building a new colony on the Red Planet.

"The US needs to begin homesteading and settlement of Mars," Aldrin said at the Humans to Mars conference at George Washington University. "It is within reach."

His call for US leadership in the to Mars largely lines up with plans set forth by NASA and President 's administration to send the first people to Mars in the 2030s.

But unlike Charles Bolden, who acknowledged at the start of the three-day conference on Monday that significant technological gaps remain, Aldrin said the bulk of the research has already been done.

"There is really very little new research that is required," Aldrin said, calling for cash investment and political will to sustain the vision of a permanent dual-planetary society.

"The US needs to continue to be the human leader and I think we can capitalize on the dynamism of the commercial market to develop a landing system that can truly become the basis for a US highway to space."

Aldrin, who has authored a new book titled "Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration," said the title should have been "Missions to Mars" since the trips will be many and the human presence should be continuous.

"We are talking about multiple missions to eventually settle and colonize Mars," said Aldrin, who also plugged his plan to send spacecraft on cycling orbits that would engage in perpetual trajectories between Earth and Mars.

"We should focus our attention on establishing a permanent human presence on Mars by the 2030-2040 decade.

"The United States will be a beacon for the development of humanity."

Aldrin described how there could be different modular habitats on Mars, perhaps built by the world's various space agencies from China, Europe, India, Japan and Russia, with the United States in the leadership role.

He said a first step would be to send three people to the Martian moon Phobos "and use that year and a half to oversee the robotic deployment of the international Mars base."

He derided those who have suggested that people who make the trip to Mars may be able to come back to Earth afterward.

"There is no other choice than to commit to permanence on Mars," Aldrin said. "I just don't think you can have one-shot forays to the surface of Mars."

Aldrin appeared to support the Inspiration Mars idea, put forth by astronaut Dennis Tito, to send two humans on a flyby of Mars beginning in 2018, saying that "could make it very clear that our mid-century goal is permanence on Mars."

As to One, the Dutch company that recently announced it was recruiting volunteers for a one-way trip to the Red Planet in 2023, Aldrin said the plan appeared to have good fundraising and public relations appeal but "not much technical basis behind it."

Aldrin was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 11. On July 20, 1969, he and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to set foot on the moon.

Explore further: Every dollar must go to bridge gaps to Mars, NASA says (Update)

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Milou
1 / 5 (12) May 08, 2013
We should send him there first. See if he likes it??? Perhaps he can get a "buzz" out of it?
Sean_W
2 / 5 (8) May 08, 2013
"There is really very little new research that is required," Aldrin said, calling for cash investment and political will to sustain the vision of a permanent dual-planetary society."


Physically doing it and having it done without huge damage to the US/global economy are 2 things. And you don't want a colony of hundreds which is still depending on shipments from Earth so you need to figure out what timeline and population level should be your goal for being self-sufficient before you start to consider it a white elephant. Maybe NASA should send basic cargo drops of supplies in a few areas and tell the private sector that if you get to Mars you can have them free--first come first serve. They could include extra water, long-lived food items, medical supplies, clothing etc. It would be stuff they'd need to bring themselves as well but it would be an invaluable backup and make expansion easier. It would be like an X-Prize but instead of money it'd be valuable Martian commodities.
PeterParker
1 / 5 (9) May 08, 2013
Aldrin is right of course, but he is too old to realize that soon, America will no longr exist.

China and Russia will be the ones colonizing Mars.
Sean_W
1.6 / 5 (7) May 08, 2013
Though really, I would favour a moon base since you would develop mostly the same knowledge base a Martian colony would need but with faster emergency re supply times and launching a Mars Mission from the Moon would be much easier.
Aaron1980
1.6 / 5 (7) May 08, 2013
China can and should do it now... They have the buildup of wealth and the resources. China can mobilize it people to benefit of mankind.

Mass produce manned vehicles to mars so that they can be launched every four weeks so that at any moment in time there is only four weeks between one vessel and the next. Doing this makes the trip much safer and if something goes wrong with one vessel on route they can hunker down for the few weeks it would take for the next vessel to rescue them. These would then form a loop back to earth in a circuit. More vessels can be added so that weekly deliveries can be the norm.
Oversoul 1
1.5 / 5 (8) May 09, 2013
Then we have to prepare for the first interplanetar war...
o => <= o°
Mars Independence Day
Gigel
not rated yet May 09, 2013
We should send him there first. See if he likes it??? Perhaps he can get a "buzz" out of it?

Ya may be surprised by his answer to that. "Astronaut" is the name of a permanent disease.
Gigel
5 / 5 (2) May 09, 2013
China and Russia will be the ones colonizing Mars.

Maybe. But then again, the US has a culture of boldness that Russia and China didn't show until now. What would R and C do if there were no US? Would they do progress or would they run into the same petty businesses that most countries do regularly as if they were the most important things to do?

From the point of view of progress, 90% of politics is a complete loss of energy, money and purpose. I think that is precisely what the US should stay away from. That is why they should aggressively pursue research, development and space colonisation instead of the usual petty politics, so that they would advance rather than dominate. It is better to be more capable than to rule some primitive jungle tribes.
ShotmanMaslo
2 / 5 (8) May 09, 2013
There wasnt even any permanent settlement on the Moon yet. Baby steps first...
Aaron1980
1.6 / 5 (8) May 09, 2013
sending a train of vehicles even at one to two week intervals that make a circuit around mars and back to circle earth in a continuous loop would be simple enough to do with todays technology and cheap enough if the Chinese make them as mass produce.

These would supply the food and related supplies rather than sending a years worth of food with one vessel. If something goes wrong with one the loss is only a week or two of supplies. Man can live for a month without food.

At this point the only requirements are the lift off from earth to board the train as it orbits earth and the getting off from the train at mars to land. These can both be accomplished with space (train) stations around mars and around earth.

Again everything is doable and cheap using Chinese stile mass production of repeat modules.
NotAsleep
5 / 5 (2) May 09, 2013
"sending a train of vehicles even at one to two week intervals that make a circuit around mars and back to circle earth in a continuous loop would be simple enough to do with todays technology"

You know the Earth and Mars rotate around the sun at different speeds, right? It's not like finding an orbit around earth and the moon, which is still a difficult task. Even if we synchronized a ferry with Earth and Mars, we'd still need to accelerate a payload from earth to match the speed of the ferry, which sort of defeats the purpose of the ferry
WillieWard
2.1 / 5 (7) May 09, 2013
One-way trip to Mars if NASA insists using conventional chemical rockets. Roundtrip if they use fusion propulsion, people don't need to die on Mars.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) May 09, 2013
[qBut unlike NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who acknowledged at the start of the three-day conference on Monday that significant technological gaps remain, Aldrin said the bulk of the research has already been done.
With all due respect to Mr. Aldrin: you're not a scientist. You're a test pilot.
I'll take the word of NASA scientists over yours on this, any day.

'Settlement' and 'Setting foot on' are on entirely different scales difficulty-wise.

would be simple enough to do with todays technology and cheap enough if the Chinese make them as mass produce.

It's neither simple nor cheap. Our track record if even hitting Mars with probes (let alone precisely where we want) is abysmal. And there are certain costs (like fuel) that do not scale with numbers. Quite the contrary. Many launches will be killer on our own ecosphere right here on Earth.
Gigel
5 / 5 (2) May 09, 2013
It's neither simple nor cheap. Our track record if even hitting Mars with probes (let alone precisely where we want) is abysmal. And there are certain costs (like fuel) that do not scale with numbers. Quite the contrary. Many launches will be killer on our own ecosphere right here on Earth.

Going to America is simple and cheap, ever since Columbus. Before that, it wasn't. In the "Mars" dilemma we are "before" and need to go "after". It is a matter of progress and will, and dreams. People forgot to dream, they just go around like robots, doing the same things over again. Boring! Going to Mars is better.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) May 09, 2013
Going to America is simple and cheap, ever since Columbus. Before that, it wasn't.

Fuel cost for going by sail-boat is zero when going to America.
Going into orbit takes energy - and that energy has to come from somewhere. And right now our best rockets are still rather expensive when it comes to getting multi-megatonnes of material from Earth into orbit (and from there to Mars).
And we're talking that kind of mass when we're talking 'permanent settlement'.

Yes, someday in the future we'll all just gently float up into the sky on our thrusters driven by pocket fusion engines. But that day is not today (or tomorrow, or in the next few decades).

Until stuff suddenly becaomes cheap and easy there is a certain period (measured in decades) where basic technology is conceptualized, built and tested. We're currently not even in the conceptualizing stage
(And no: fantasies of space elvators or the like which require -as of yet- unavailable tech are not 'concepts'.)
Porgie
1.7 / 5 (11) May 09, 2013
Buzz is right, we should, but BO will never spend any money on it there are no votes he can buy on Mars.
Aaron1980
1 / 5 (5) May 10, 2013
You know the Earth and Mars rotate around the sun at different speeds, right? It's not like finding an orbit around earth and the moon, which is still a difficult task. Even if we synchronized a ferry with Earth and Mars, we'd still need to accelerate a payload from earth to match the speed of the ferry, which sort of defeats the purpose of the ferry


Asleep .... that is the beauty of it. We launch our train towards the orbit mars will cross so that rather than traveling from earth to where mars will be in six month, the train modules get launched towards the closet distance mars will be at. It just a mater of synchronizing the launches and since we are launching them on a weekly basis each module will orbit around mars each week throughout its orbit. No need to wait for opportune times for each launch window etc. One per week requires 52 launches and they do not all have to go up in one year since once in the circuit to stay there indefinitely. Done over five years...
ShotmanMaslo
1.7 / 5 (6) May 10, 2013
antialias

Fuel


Fuel cost is negligible.

Environmental damage from rocket launches would be negligible, too.

Launching fuel to orbit (and beyond) is expensive, but it does scale very well with numbers considering that it is just a dumb payload and our launch capabilities are chronically underutilised anyway.
Aaron1980
1.4 / 5 (8) May 10, 2013
if the Chinese do this they can create mag-lev launcher slopping up the Himalayas... say with a couple of hundred miles of track to get to escape velocity. reach mars with nominal fuel ... ion engine ... smaller model... we have all the technology ... just need someone like the Chinese with tons of money and tons of people who work cheap ... they can have this started up in a couple of years ... forget about USA or Europe doing anything like this as it would be economically impossible... but for the Chinese this is nothing for them to handle economically speaking ... just another make work project for a socialist government to keep all their billion people busy
cantdrive85
1.7 / 5 (12) May 10, 2013
Buzz obviously is experiencing senility in his old age, somebody tell him "Star Trek" is fiction.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (5) May 10, 2013
I do agree in full extent. Cosmonauts can only fly into the space and they cannot think of something else. These old chaps, who were payed with government whole their life have no idea, what the free market and economy is. BTW Home is what makes the difference.
Moebius
2 / 5 (8) May 12, 2013
Mars is ideal for us. No species to drive extinct. No atmosphere to pollute. No water to poison. We could live there forever without screwing it up.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (7) May 12, 2013
Physically doing it and having it done without huge damage to the US/global economy are 2 things
People who say these things have no concept of the scale of what this civilization does every day.

The best way of establishing permanence on mars is underground with nuclear-powered borers, excavators, and factories. The US has over 100 nuclear subs constantly swimming about. This is dwarfed by the 1000s of ships and planes it has in active service.

This is dwarfed by the huge numbers of commercial planes, trains, ships, and trucks moving about, hauling cubic miles worth of material every day.

Our civilization can certainly afford to calve itself in a formidable way on the next planet over. Which is what we are preparing to do, and what we WILL do, within a generation.

One might say that it is the main Puropse if this civilization of ours. Because it is ESSENTIAL to it's long term survival.

ValeriaT
1.8 / 5 (8) May 12, 2013
What is essential is the finding of effective energy source in this moment. Without it we will end in mutual war conflict for the rest of fossil fuel sources - and quite frankly, the global nuclear war is currently way more probable, than the impact of meteorite, which could wipe the terrestrial life (I do afraid, the possibility to visit the Mars wouldn't save us anyway without cold fusion).
Ober
1 / 5 (1) May 13, 2013
Well just look back at the lunar missions. It didn't take the U.S. long to land on the Moon once they committed themelves to it. That is EXACTLY the same kind of committment we need now. It would be nice if it were an international effort, but I'll back any country that has the balls, and will, to DO IT!!!! For those who have a different opinion than Buzz, just remember, was it YOU or Buzz that WALKED ON THE MOON??? They are the kinda balls we need to go to Mars. I also agree with Buzz in that it MUST be a colony. Anything else will just result in a few landings There is so much more to discover on Mars, but we need to LIVE there in order to explore the planet. I do like the idea of a temp base on Phobos though, so they can operate robots on the Martian surface in REAL TIME. Thats when robots REALLY WORK for us!! IT is also a cheaper starting point to achieve a ready built base.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) May 13, 2013
Environmental damage from rocket launches would be negligible, too.

You may want to read this:
http://news.natio...one.html

As I've calculated elsewhere on this site (on a discussion about space-based solar) - if we were to try and bring significant mass into orbit via current rocket tech (e.g. the type of mass needed to get even a small fraction of our power from solar mirrors) then we'd overkill the ozone layer within a few years in the process.

Launching fuel to orbit (and beyond) is expensive, but it does scale very well with numbers

It doesn't scale at all. Fuel to mass ratio of getting stuff to lunar orbit or beyond is about 62 to 1. And that is 62 to 1 regardless of how cheaply/efficiently you make rockets, because it only depends on the fuel type and physical constants.
(LEO doesn't mean a thing when going to Mars)

(Manned) Research on Mars - yes, please. Settlement? (Currently) No, thanks.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (8) May 13, 2013
overkill the ozone
-which is why we are exploring all sorts of alternatives; air- and balloon-launches, mass drivers, elevators, tethers, conveyors, and such. These will be online as they become available.

Jigga is right, we need new energy sources to build and power them, and LENR or fusion variants are probably what will happen.
Settlement?
ASAP. Or else we're all gonna DIE!!!
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (8) May 13, 2013
NASA catapult:
http://www.dailyt...9628.htm

-Other potential designs from the wiki space elevator page:
Space tower
Pneumatic freestanding tower
Tensile Skyhooks
Space elevator
Hypersonic skyhook
SpaceShaft
Bolus Rotovators
Hypersonic bolus
Endo-atmospheric tethers
Space fountain
Orbital ring Launch loop
Projectile launchers
Coilgun Mass driver 
Railgun StarTram
Chemical Space gun
Blast wave accelerator
Ram accelerator
Slingatron
Reaction drives
Air launch Spaceplanes
Laser propulsion
Beam-powered propulsion
Buoyant lifting
Balloon Buoyant space port
Orbital airship
High-altitude platform
Rocket sled launch

-Take your pick. Have confidence in science and innovation. Think positive.
MaiioBihzon
2.1 / 5 (15) May 15, 2013
Aldrin. What a cool dude. And, of course, he's right. A lot of the preliminary work has been done. By the time a mission can be put together, the "gaps," such as they are, can be filled in.

It's time to go.

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