Buzz Aldrin: Forget the Moon, Aim for Mars

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Buzz Aldrin: Forget the Moon, Aim for Mars

by Roy Mark

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Outsource Moon to International Consortium

NASA should "Scrap our go-it-alone lunar program and let international partners—China, Europe, Russia, India and Japan-do the lion's share of the planning, technical development and funding." Under Aldrin's plan, NASA would participate in the international lunar program by providing technological leadership. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

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Extend Shuttle Flights to 2015

NASA plans to shut down the space shuttle fleet by 2010, relying on Russian transport to the International Space Station while the United States readies its next rockets to power the moon expedition. Forget that, Aldrin says. He supports keeping the shuttle flying until 2015. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

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Outsource Low-Orbit Space Flight to Private Enterprise

While NASA focuses on Mars, Aldrin supports the continued commercialization of space flight by subsidizing private rockets and spacecraft like SpaceX's Falcon 9 (shown here) and Dragon capsule that can carry up cargo and crew to the space station. (Photo courtesy of SpaceX)

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Dump the Ares I Launch Vehicle

Aldrin calls the Ares solid-fuel launch vehicle (shown here) "underpowered" and "vibration-prone." NASA plans two rockets, one for cargo and one for crew. Aldrin disagrees, supporting the idea of one rocket that will power both crew and cargo. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

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Develop New Habitation Module for Long-Duration Flights

The Orion capsule (shown here) under development is designed for relatively short flights around Earth and the moon. To reach Mars, Aldrin wants a spacecraft capable of a three-year flight with radiation shields, artificial gravity, and food and recycling facilities. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

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Lease the Fleet

To encourage international partners, Aldrin says they should be able to lease or buy manned spacecraft developed by the United States. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

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2014: Dry Runs Around the Moon

After developing a long-duration space vehicle, Aldrin calls for several flybys of the moon to prep for Mars. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

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2018: Launch a 1-Year Mission to Deep Space

By the end of the next decade, Aldrin sees NASA heading for galaxies far away. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

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2025: Manned Landing on Phobos

The last step before landing on Mars would be manned landing on Phobos, the 17-mile-wide moon 4,000 miles above Mars. Aldrin sees Phobos as a perfect spot to monitor robots that will pave the way for men on Mars. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

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Permanent Outpost on Mars

Aldrin wants travelers to Mars to commit to staying there permanently, serving as space pioneers to hold the fort while more pilgrims arrive to boost the human population of the Martian mission. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

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