Buzz Aldrin, former astronaut and the second man to walk on the moon, said that sending a manned mission on Mars could be possible in 2040.
“I think that’s a good target date,” Aldrin said. “We should be able to reach there with international crews.” While NASA is looking at 2035 to send a manned mission to the red planet, Aldrin believes a later date would be more realistic. Aldrin, who walked on the moon in 1969, says that establishing a colony on Mars could be possible through international collaboration and contribution of large businesses.
He said that getting to Mars will not be so difficult, saying that that “is very realistic, in my mind.” Mars’ moon Phobos could be the ideal landing point, serving as the stepping stone, to go to Mars. “From there, people can make the final assembly and check out of all the habitation and final supplies and all the life support systems,” Aldrin said. “If they are successful doing that, they can go down and land [on Mars].”
He talked about how significant a journey to the red planet would be, highlighting that such an achievement would break new ground. “I look at where we were 47 years ago leading the world in space exploration, having six landings on the moon, no one has done anything like that ever since,” he said. “To take the step [to Mars], to take the movement, to take the action to begin to occupy…is there anything bigger that humans could do on Earth than to leave and begin to occupy?”
As reported by the Daily Mail, people on Mars would only be able to produce 15 to 20 percent of what they will require. As a result, supplies from Earth would have to be sent regularly. Aldrin suggests that establishing a series of bases would be more fruitful to fulfill this feat. “I feel that we need to concentrate our efforts on one major base, to make that as close to being self-sufficient,” he said.
Aldrin has conceptualized the “Aldrin Mars Cycler,” which, as reported by FOX News, will help in minimizing the fuel required to undertake the journey, and keeping the health hazards of long term space flight to the lowest.
He also talked about the time it would take to make a round trip to the red planet. “A mission to Mars is going to take about a half year just to leave Earth to get to Mars and a half year to come back — then you can’t just come back immediately,” he said. “All-in-all it’s pretty close to a three-year mission.”
While a significant hurdle would be the mental impact for the prospect of someone living possibly the rest of their life on Mars, Aldrin said he can “see people making that decision.”
“That’s the most important thing. I can see many [making the decision] to get there, but I can also see things getting a little tough and they regret the decision and their functioning going down and that being disruptive to people,” he said.