Buzz Aldrin Calls for 'Great Migration of Humankind to Mars,' Says the Trump Administration 'Could Start This Engine'

Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin speaks onstage during Celebrity Fight Night XXV on March 23, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night

Buzz Aldrin—former NASA astronaut and the second man to walk on the Moon—has called on humanity to accelerate plans for space exploration and set in motion the "great migration of humankind to Mars."

Writing in The Washington Post, Aldrin urged the U.S. to make reaching the red planet a focus of the nation's attention.

"Mars is waiting to be discovered, not by clever robots and rovers—though I support NASA's unmanned missions—but by living, breathing, walking, talking, caring and daring men and women," Aldrin wrote in the article. "To make that happen, members of Congress, the Trump administration and the American public must care enough to make human exploration missions to Mars a national priority," he said.

"The United States' eyes—and our unified commitment—should focus on opening the door, in our time, to the great migration of humankind to Mars," he said. "Books aplenty have been written about how to do this, and they have inspired government and non-government leaders to make lofty plans. But plans without a detailed architecture, and without that "next step" into the future, are just fantasy."

While such plans may seem far-fetched, Aldrin noted that Americans are good at turning what seems like fantasy into reality, as evidenced by the Apollo moon missions. The former astronaut said he supported Vice President Mike Pence's recent announcement that the country was heading back to the Moon, and urged planning to begin in earnest.

"Having been there, I can say it is high time we returned," Aldrin wrote. "When Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and I went to the Moon 50 years ago this July, we did so with a mission. Apollo 11 aimed to prove America's can-do commitment to space exploration, as well as its national security and technological superiority. We did all that. We also "Came in Peace for all Mankind." More of that is needed now."

He said the U.S. should work together with other nations—such as China and Russia, as well as friends in Europe and the Middle East—to take the next step of a "sustainable international" return to the Moon, which would pave the way for future missions to the red planet.

"The Trump administration and today's Congress, inspired by an American public impatient for space leadership, could start this engine," he wrote. "The next step would build on our early lunar landings and establish permanent settlements on the Moon. In the meantime, preparations for permanent migration to the red planet can be made. All of this is within reach for humans alive now, but it starts with a unified next step in space. The nation best poised to make it happen is the United States."

Aldrin said that, in years to come, The Trump Administration and the current Congress would be remembered for putting Americans on the Moon and Mars, and for making the great migration possible.

He noted that human nature compels us to explore deeper into space, and suggested that perhaps the ultimate survival of our species depended on this endeavor: "Put simply: We explore, or we expire. That is why we must get on with it."

"In a world of division and distraction, this mission is unifying—for all Americans and for all humankind," he wrote. "So, I am personally glad we are headed back to the Moon—and I thank President Trump and the vice president for their commitment. But my eyes drift higher, to the red orb that, even now, awaits an American flag and plaque that reads: 'We Come in Peace for All Mankind.'"