Buzz Aldrin Speaks Out: Forget the Moon, Let's Head to Mars

By Eliza Strickland | June 26, 2009 10:08 am

Buzz AldrinAs the second man to ever walk on the moon (he stepped out of the lunar module about 15 minutes after Neil Armstrong), Buzz Aldrin knows a little something about space exploration, about bold ambitions and great risks. Now, Aldrin is speaking out about NASA, and declaring loudly that the space agency has lost its boldness. The next step in humanity’s exploration of space must be a bootprint on Mars, he says.

Says Aldrin: “As I approach my 80th birthday, I’m in no mood to keep my mouth shut any longer when I see NASA heading down the wrong path. And that’s exactly what I see today. The ­agency’s current Vision for Space Exploration will waste decades and hundreds of billions of dollars trying to reach the moon by 2020—a glorified rehash of what we did 40 years ago. Instead of a steppingstone to Mars, NASA’s current lunar plan is a detour” [Popular Mechanics].

Aldrin says that while the moon is interesting scientifically, it’s not promising for commercial activities. Mars, on the other hand, holds much more potential for a human colony, Aldrin says. “It’s much more terrestrial. It has a thin atmosphere and a day/night cycle that is very similar to ours. It has seasons. Russia perhaps is still entertaining the possibility that the moons of Mars might have access to ice or water” [The New York Times], says Aldrin.

His comments come at a significant time, as the Obama administration recently ordered a review of NASA’s human spaceflight program. Aldrin hopes that the review committee will listen to him and other NASA critics and scrap the Ares rockets currently under development, which are expected to bring the next generation of astronauts into space. It would be cheaper, Aldrin says, to adapt existing satellite-launching rockets to carry a crew capsule, which would allow NASA to spend its time, money, and energy on establishing a Martian outpost.

Taking a lesson from the ups and downs of NASA funding over the years, Aldrin says “we shouldn’t be dependent on a program that can be cancelled once we’ve gone and returned. We need to start something that has a self-sustaining nature. Six people can’t get that done. But 40, 50 or 60 can. You need to build a thriving, self-sustaining settlement that doesn’t need extensive re-supply from Earth” [The Wall Street Journal]. Aldrin says we ought to send the first settlers to Mars by 2035, which would be 66 years after the first steps were taken on the moon.

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80beats: NASA Robots Aim for Moon; Human Mission May Be in Doubt
80beats: Obama Orders a Review of NASA’s Human Space Flight Program
80beats: NASA May Scrap Plans for a Permanent Moon Base
80beats: New Race to the Moon Could Bring Permanent Bases and Observatories
DISCOVER: Russia’s Dark Horse Plan to Get to Mars discusses the Phobos plan

Image: flickr / Eirik Newth

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space
  • YouRang

    I can’t tell. Have they been planning on pinballing off the moon. IOW have they been planning on an unmanned station accelerating over weeks or months until the station is in a free return orbit around the moon. (It could even take some of the angular momentum of the moon in a series of flybys (which would be returned when the station returns.) The station then returns to earth where a shuttle transfers the crew to the station (also BTW in a free return orbit in case something goes worng :-) ). The station will then already have 100 kmiles/day above escape velocity from the earth. Also there would seem to be no reason to put the station in orbit around Mars–a shuttle could land the astronauts; and on the stations return to Mars, it could pick up the astronauts to return them to earth.

  • QUASAR

    I hope that China or India send a manned mission to Mars first!

  • http://blog.denniswilliamson.us Dennis

    To infinity and beyond!

  • Evan

    I agree with Buzz 110%, but I wish he’d spelled it out more clearly. The only barrier to an immediate Mars mission is the return–we certainly have the technology to land missions on Mars, but taking off from Mars and getting back to Earth is out of reach right now. SO…

    A one-way trip to Mars for several teams, 12-18 individuals in total, with steady (but limited) re-supply and NO return plans. Qualified volunteers would come out of the woodwork. Couples–qualified geologists/engineers/mechanics/specialists–who have no family, willing to go to Mars indefinitely. All must be willing to sacrifice their lives, all must be highly qualified, under 40 years old, mentally and physically fit.

    Maybe there’s some benefit to this round of re-evaluation. Maybe Griffin’s vision wasn’t perfect–the modified shuttle system could be up quicker, safer, cheaper. She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts; enough payload to send up a steady stream of Mars transport/resupply missions.

    Let’s go to Mars now! Let’s go permenently!

  • Shaithis

    Forget Mar’s let’s figure out how to get to any planet quickly. More research needs to be done on new propulsion systems to shorten the time before a mission to any planet could be realistic.

  • Shaithis

    We can’t even be self sufficient on Earth with the BioDome experiments. And that’s with a hospitably atmosphere.

  • amphiox

    One would not expect total self-sufficiency at first. One-way supply trips from earth at regular intervals would be a given.

    And there would be a very real possibility that at least some of the early colony attempts will fail, with everyone there dying.

    With this possibility as a given, would there be substantially fewer volunteers than otherwise? I don’t think so.

  • http://www.myreferenceframe.com/ MyReferenceFrame

    We need to develop a better propulsion system. A 2 year self-sustaining round trip is a lot to ask for from men and machines. It can be done and humans will eventually do it but just getting there is going to be a challenge much less actually living there.

  • bigjohn756

    I fully agree with Mr. Aldrin. We should forget about the moon as anything more than a curiosity.

    There have been studies made over the years suggesting that spacecraft be assembled in the L4 and L5(solar and lunar) Lagrangian points from whence we might then leave for Mars. The Planetary Report has had several convincing discussions on this over the years.

  • Alex

    Buzz is totally right, another mission to moon would be stupid and ignorant waiste of tax payers money! Eventhough we might get some intresting new data from moon things like Helium-3 it is not sensible. If we use money developing trip to mars instead going back to moon, it will be a lot more better choise.

    We went to moon 1969 its time to move on to Mars now. Someone could think space travelling as steps, first step was moon next step will be mars another step would be more far away. This kinds of steps will help us evolve and move further on space.

    We peoples rely on fossilfuels but we all know they arent forever and they are ending sooner or later. I think its critical to move on now, humankind dont have time to waste now! It maybe that in future space traveling may confront an downturn because of this if we cant develop new sources of energy.

  • Tom

    No more shuttle to get crew cabins, rockets, fuel or supplies

    Still havent solved the problem of long term muscular atrophy from weightlessness UNLESS THEY CREATE ARTIFICIAL GRAVITY BY HAVING THE SHIP ROTATE.

    Still havent solved the radiation problem which would be exponentially bigger issue for trip to Mars than it was for the moon. Remember that the trip to the moon was lucky. It was short and there were no storms…even a mild storm would have provided enough radiation to kill the occupants of that capsule….

    Right now, we are further along at medication for radiation but the only forms of insulation to radiation are lead which is heavy and I think water….but that would be like an ocean. UNLESS OF COURSE THE NEW RESEARCH IN GENERATING A PLASMA FIELD AROUND THE SPACE SHIP…CAN BE TESTED.

    Mars would be great…but there is alot of research….for that to happen…research that could go on concurrently.

    What would be smarter…is a moonbase that could be like a repair station for space ships and space stations. Thats the perfect use for the moon….a pressurized interior and underground shielded environment for repair.

  • Sundance

    Buzz is right, we should go to Mars. But it doesn’t have to be an either/or decision whether we go to the Moon or Mars. When people talk about wasting taxpayer’s money on expensive missions to space, they forget that the amount of money spent on military projects is orders of magnitude greater. the US spends approximately $1 BILLION PER DAY on its military budget. The Apollo program cost $135 billion over the course of 13 years. Do the maths, the US military spends as much in ten days as NASA did in an entire year at the height of Apollo. Which of these is a more beneficial way to spend money, for all mankind?

    We can go to the Moon, and Mars, and anywhere else we want. We just need to be bold, like Buzz says, and stop wasting so much money, effort and brainpower on fighting ourselves when we could be working towards a common good.

  • CP

    Sending humans to Mars would be colossally expensive, and what would be the point? We can accomplish nearly as much scientifically for orders of magnitude less cost with rovers, robots, etc. And there’s a good chance that a manned effort would result in there being another disaster like Challenger, Columbia, and Apollo 1. The cold war is over. Let’s get our priorities straight. Let other countries waste their money on manned space programs.

  • James H.

    I agree with Buzz Aldrin that NASA needs a thorough renovation. There have been so many screw ups and lost opportunities when it comes to manned space flight. But we need to get this right- if we are going to go to Mars (and beyond) we need to get radiation shielding and simulated/ artificial gravity first. Plus there is the cost (which needs to be addressed). CP, yes machines can do it for cheaper, but eventually we’ll have to go to Mars and beyond if we want to survive.

  • Chris

    A manned trip to Mars seems to have little purpose, it’s interesting, but what is the actual benefit?

    Another manned trip to the moon also seems silly. It’s like having a camping trip in your backyard.

    One of the real questions I must wonder is: Does humanity want to leave Earth?

  • Tom

    Yes of course we want to leave earth
    Yes of course we want a manned trip to mars
    But we need to solve the problems of creating a form of gravity so that astronauts can come back
    And we need to solve the problems of radiation
    And we need to solve those problems on a permanent manned space station which can orbit the earth, orbit the moon or be sent to orbit mars….in other words we need a spaceship and a mothership..

  • http://physicshandbook.com/ Rony Lee

    Yes, most of the people want to go some other place except earth.Mars is a good option.

  • M Wulfgar

    The main problem with going into space is that chemical rockets totally suck. If we could make really good ion engines (which seems to be the next step forward in high-propulsion technology), than this would cost much, much less. Add that to a space elevator (which must be done to make moving things into Earth orbit feasible), and we have cost effective launch and transit both ways. Staying alive on Mars would then be the main issue. I’d assume there would be extensive greenhouses and underground buildings, to keep efficiency up, but in the end, terraforming Mars is the only practical option for long term settlement of Mars. And to do that, we need to make the magnetic field stronger, which could only be done by either and incredibly strong series of surface-based electomagnets or by “reigniting” the core by deposition of nuclear materials. We haven’t been to our own core yet, so we have no idea how to mess with that stuff. We need the following techs to get to Mars and stay there:
    -Radiation Shielding
    -A viable alternative to chemical propulsion
    -Equipment for core delving
    -Near-Vacuum-Proof Greenhouses
    -Portable Nuclear Generators (because how else will you power a base? gas?)
    -Space Elevators
    -More knowledge about planetary cores and how they work towards the planet’s magnetic field

    We’re not quite ready. So we need to make some things real before we shove off.

  • Sparky McBiff

    It’s not as simple as that unfortunately. At the moment we just don’t have the technology to land the required equipment for a manned mission on Mars. Because of the thin atmosphere and Mar’s size we have yet to devise a way to safely land anything that weighs more than about a ton on the surface. This is rarely ever mentioned in articles that talk about a mission to Mars. Airbag technology that we have used is at its upper weight limit and can’t handle the greater size required. Retro rockets are unstable at higher speeds. Any successful system will have to be able to slow a payload from Mach 5 to less than Mach 1 in about 90 seconds. We have yet to develop that system. This must be solved before any serious thought about a Manned mission to Mars can be undertaken.

  • Cyclonus

    What we need to do is to get all of the nations of Earth to work together to go to Mars. After all it will benefit all mankind. Kinda of like a Global Manhattan Project. Cause if numerous nations worked together rather than in competition with each other we could reach Mars sooner than you think. We already have the power source for Mars. Portable BackyardNuclear Generators. They should be ready for installation by 2013. Now we just need a new ship and find someway for it to be protected by a plasma shield.

  • Gainful

    I must respectfully disagree with Mister Aldrin, Mars is not the next place to go; it is not that I don’t think we should go there, but that we need to do other things first. I think (could be wrong) that it was G.Harry Stine who wrote a piece call “Half way to anywhere” about establishing a permanent space station to be used as a launching point for all manned missions. Made sense when he wrote it, makes sense now.

  • Anthony

    The only real benefit of going to the moon would be to establish some kind of spaceport there for travel to the other planets. The vast majority of fuel used during a flight mission comes from escaping the gravity of our Earth. Building this spaceport on the Moon will drastically reduce the costs and increase the efficiency of our spacecraft.

    I really do adore Mr. Aldrin here, but I think he may be missing the point of a trip to the moon. Establishing some kind of base on the moon will allow for humanity to really test itself against the very harsh reality of space without being totally left alone. Sending colonists to die on Mars without the proper technology would really kill any enthusiasm to go to Mars.

    Now, what I don’t understand is why can’t we go back to the moon in 5 years? Why do we have to wait ten long years, on top of the forty we have had to wait, to go back to the moon? THAT is what we should be barking about here.

  • Paul Brinker

    The moon is not a real target, It migh be a symbolic target and it might even be a location to get H3 for fusion power. This said…

    To get to mars we need:
    A staging area in orbit
    Fuel
    A larger ship (assembled in orbit)
    Crew (people willing to risk there life)

    What we have going:
    There are no “no go” technical issues
    Nucular and Ion Drives both work
    Ships can be vary large and bulky
    Water stores can be used as radiation protection
    Spinning sections can be done with curren technology

    Idealy to go to mars we need to assemble an earth space port in space, put a factory up there, Find a way to get equipment and goods up more cheaply then curren technology and establish our race as a true space going one.

    I fully feel that this could be done and I would give my life to attempt it.

  • http://twitter.com/mister33 Anselm H Joh Redlich (Mister33)

    Hi ! please send me a Link after a translation or to a nearly same report in german language. ;)

  • Tony

    Maybe when Mr. Aldrin comes clean on what the ritual was that he conducted 33 minutes after the Apollo 11 landing was all about, and admits to us what he saw (or admits that he can’t remember what he saw) on the moon, then we’ll pay more attention to what he thinks we should do next.

    Disclosure now.

  • Brian

    “Still havent solved the problem of long term muscular atrophy from weightlessness UNLESS THEY CREATE ARTIFICIAL GRAVITY BY HAVING THE SHIP ROTATE.”

    Yes they have, I was down in Florida and talking with Gerald Carr who did 84 days on Skylab, he told me that these days with the exercise and diet methods they use they have little to no issue with muscular atrophy.

    The biggest danger to travelling from here to Mars is Solar Radiation. They would need to build an adequate protection system keep the crew safe and equipment operational for the 150 day trip it would take.

    As to scrapping the current Atlas rocket, not sure it is wise. Very little of the Saturn V programs equipment and technology is left, and the lift requirements for a trip to Mars would be far greater than that used to lift satellites. Either we would be launching small ships or lifting components to build a larger ship, in either case were talking big stuff. The shuttle has the lift capacity but it can not reach the moon, let alone mars. What we need is another monster lifter like the Saturn V, but at this point, they have to build it all again because they either lost the plans for the old parts, or the methods to build them since they were very custom. Plus, they have learned a lot of the last 40 years that a redesign is probably called for.

    Lastly, if the Saturn V program never ended, and NASA didn’t reconfigure for the Shuttle Program, we would not need to go to the Moon again. The moon is going to be re-testing the equipment to get us to Mars with a safety margin for the astronauts in that they could return to Earth or the space station. Once you leave the gravity well of Earth/Moon and you are heading towards Mars, there is no coming back without some serious risk and a very very very long trip around the solar system.

  • fromaplanetfar

    Your population is growing daily, your resources are declining at the same rate, your planets military is always being expanded to protect yourselves from each other and you are worried about traveling to other worlds. Doesn’t anyone think it is more important to end your planets dependence on its natural resources, manage your waste and production better, work towards getting along with each other so that war, poverty and hunger are no longer problems.

    You think that to the moon or to mars is the question that should be asked, when in all reality, if you do not change your planets evil ways the only question that will be asked is, To be or not to be and it is a question that will be asked much sooner than you think.

  • Brian

    FROM Paul Brinker Say:

    “What we have going:
    There are no “no go” technical issues
    Nucular and Ion Drives both work
    Ships can be vary large and bulky
    Water stores can be used as radiation protection
    Spinning sections can be done with curren technology

    Idealy to go to mars we need to assemble an earth space port in space, put a factory up there, Find a way to get equipment and goods up more cheaply then curren technology and establish our race as a true space going one.
    I fully feel that this could be done and I would give my life to attempt it.”

    MY REPLY …

    You make it sound so easy, keep in mind the ship that would go to Mars would be larger than the space station which can only crew 6 people. Mr. Aldrin is saying we should send more. When dealing with people you have to consider the fact that the trip takes 150 days. Now ask yourself. How much food, water and air does 6 people need for 150 days. Now add that to what the ship needs to store and how much bigger the ship needs to be. Then add fuel so that the ship can get there an back, speeding up and slowing down will take fuel. Putting people on the planet uses fuel. Getting them off the planet (which no government space program will not plan to do) takes fuel. The ship will be huge. The space station which can be resupplied from earth several times a year does not need to carry all of this load. It was started back in 1998 and wont be completed for a few years, so a bigger ship, will take longer to build.

    So, what do we build this ship with? Shuttle is being grounded, the Russians can’t lift anything as big as the Shuttle can lift. Were back to the Atlas rocket being needed to get stuff into space. Consider the moon the design and testing phase of the technology.

    As to your no “No-Go” technologies …

    Nucular and Ion Drives both work
    Ships can be vary large and bulky
    Water stores can be used as radiation protection
    Spinning sections can be done with curren technology

    “Nucular and Ion drives” – have never been built or tested on the scale and size that they would need to be used on. Ion drives take a long long long time to get up to speed, so unless you want your trip to mars to take years you need another method, Ion drives benefits are they do not have to carry as much fuel to go a long distance at the expense of a slow acceleration. Nuclear Rockets, which is what NASA wants to use, have never been tested in space (or on earth). They are theory. You are thinking of a Nuclear Reactor that would be used on a Sub or Aircraft Carrier, these are not the same type of technology. Nuclear Rockets used controlled Nuclear explosions to create propulsion. Nuclear Reactors create lots of heat, which turns water into steam, which drives a turbine and generates electricity and runs electric motors.

    “Ships can be vary large and bulky” – Yes, true, but the issue is not how big they can be, but how do you get it from earth to space quickly and cost effectively.

    “Water stores can be used as radiation protection” – True, but water is very heavy. How much water would be needed to protect a crew of 6, think, how big a space to fit that many people. Then how much water (how many feet) has to be all around them to protect from the radiation. Do some math and figure out how much that water weighs, and how many trips to from earth at 500 million dollars (average shuttle liftoff) it would take to get it into space.

    “Spinning sections can be done with curren technology” – This is not 2001 Space Odyssey, yes we can generate gravity as you describe, but that requires a really really really big ship to provide the proper scale to the rotation. Otherwise, people get sick to their stomachs because they feel like they are on a carnival ride.

    —–

    The best low cost solution I have seen to the Mars trip, is a program that does multiple launch with small number of crew…

    1) First 2 rocket launched (similar to Saturn V or Atlas) puts 2 return to orbit vehicles on the surface of Mars w/ equipment that will capture methane and other chemicals from the Mars atmosphere and combine with hydrogen and other compounds to create fuel for a return trip.

    2) Next launch puts a travel ship in orbit around earth and fuels it up.

    3) Next launch puts the crew on the travel ship, and it then boosts out of orbit to mars and uses gravity assisted methods (other moons/planets) to get there and gets into Mars orbit.

    4) Crew lands on a lander from travel vehicle and spends time on planet.

    5) Return to orbit on vehicle that were placed on Mars before (multiple vehicles for backup), and dock with travel vehicle and then return to earth.

    Instead of a 100 billion dollar ship (estimates of the IIS is 100 billion, and the big ship would be bigger), it could be 10 billion in smaller disposable vehicles.

  • tired

    I just say one word ;) – “You need dreams to live.”

  • Brian

    True, dreams are good, but when it comes time to try to make the dream reality, one must step into the real world to make it happen, and unfortunately in this real world $$$ rule and a big ship to Mars is way too many $$$ to make it happen.

    Something people should consider when they say .. just build the big ship, we pulled off this type of stunt in the 60’s. Back in the 60’s, JFK had 6% of the national budget (the US national budget) allocated to NASA to put a man on the moon in 10 years. Today, NASA has 0.02% of the National Budget. Do you think the tax payers, or congress is going to clear 100 to what some believe would be 300 billion to build the BIG ship to mars? No. So its time to start thinking outside the box. NASA can move the government and people to fund the Moon, that gets them the technology they need for Mars.

  • tired

    @Brian: What I hope for is that the Review of NASA’s Human Space Flight Program highlights the importance of building a international project around a Mars landing. I am proudly :) by my nationality bound to the SSC.se rather than NASA and we are kind of “slightly” underfunded to do these sort of projects. However both political and economically I hope and wish that the project becomes grander than one nation (and Mars), and I have no other view than admiration what NASA and US managed this far. We need voices like Buzz and it’s been a lot of positive PR regarding a grand exploration project which I hope will propel this into reality.. and I agree with you 100% (step by step is the way to go)

  • tired

    And, my comment 29 was in response to comment 27.

  • http://twitter.com/mister33 Anselm H Joh Redlich (Mister33)

    My Number! I drive to mars and I come not back! and when I’m 132 (4×33) years old then we can talk again!

  • Christopher Sachs

    Getting to Mars doesn’t need any new revolutionary technology or new propulsion systems. All that’s needed is a Saturn V class heavy lift vehicle and brass tacks engineering.

    To do it you first launch an Earth return vehicle (ERV) which travels to Mars with its fuel tanks only full enough to land. The ERV aerobrakes into the atmosphere then drops its heat shield and lands like viking. Next it deploys a small nuclear generator and begins processing the Martian atmosphere into Methane/LOX rocket fuel (this is 19th century chemical engineering and is trivial). Using in-situ resources drastically reduces the amount of mass you have to send to Mars.

    Four years later you launch a crewed Hab on another heavy lift vehicle. The spent upper stage of the rocket is deployed on a tether and spun up to 1/3 g of artificial gravity for the trip to Mars. The Hab cruises to Mars and aerobrakes into orbit. When weather conditions are appropriate the Hab drops out of orbit and lands in close proximity to the ERV (possibly guided by a radar beacon placed by an unmanned rover deployed with the ERV to survey for the best landing site).

    The crew stays on Mars for a year and a half before climbing into the ERV and returning to Earth.

    When the Hab launches towards Mars, you also launch another ERV on a slower trajectory to Mars that will serve as the ERV to the second crew, or a backup for the first should something go wrong. And the first ERV is fully fueled up before the Hab is even launched. Each successive mission lands a few hundred kilometers apart. Setting up a string of bases and exploring a new and unique area of the Red Planet. After maybe a dozen missions, you start landing multiple Habs in the same place–probably somewhere with a thermal vent for power and a source of water. There crews will learn to become self-sufficient and will start a new branch of human civilization.

    This plan is called Mars Direct and is well studied.

    No advanced propulsion. No huge spaceships. No space elevators. Two launches per mission every two years averages out to one heavy launch a year. This is sustainable with NASA’s current budget. We need to do Mars now before we stagnate as a society. Mars will inspire our nation to become scientists and engineers again and will drive innovation. What we learn trying to live sustainably on Mars will teach us how to live sustainably on Earth. On to Mars!

  • http://www.eightforums.com Korgo

    I’m all for landing on a comet or at least buzzing one! that’s crazy and doable, but we need to figure out the radiation problem

  • Dave

    While he’s right that we should be aiming beyond Mars, the moon is an important stepping stone for doing that kind of travel on a regular basis. One of the biggest limitations for earth launched ships is getting off the planet, that takes huge amounts of fuel, almost all of which is burned off by the time we leave the atmosphere.

    What a lunar colony permits, though, is the creation of ships which are almost entirely outside of the Earth’s gravitational pull, which means that all the weight use can be put towards a faster, more powerful engine, even if that just means the same ones we have now but with more fuel available to create accelleration when we are in space.

    Mars landings would make important symbols, but lunar colonys would make for a much wider range of exploration.

  • anonymous

    Currently, nobody has the technology or know how associated with spending long periods of time on another planet. While plenty is known about living in space thanks to the ISS, living on mars is still very risky. If a crew has trouble there it would take an hour for mission control to hear about it and send a response, and they wont get any new supplies until after the mission is over. Since the moon is a lot closer it would be a lot easier to conduct research there first so that by the time a mission to Mars happens, the astronauts can spend as much time as possible on the surface. The first mission to the moon lasted less than 24 hours, later ones lasted three days. A mission to mars should aim a bit high than that. However, it may not take too long to get ready. NASA can still do a lot to prepare for mars while sending people to the moon. The moon project need not even be a very long term thing. A few years on the surface should suffice. If they start sending people to the moon in 2020 and really hit the ground running, they could be ready for a mars rip as early as 2025. 2030 might be a more realistic timeframe though.

  • mochilla

    Buzzz, what a hipocrite you truly are. Instead of admitting with one foot in your grave that the whole “moon landing” was a complite scam in order to set people to do some real research in this field and truly advance the knowledge for the sake of the whole humanity, you still go around spreading the same old lies and giving us lullabies. I guess, the one thing you’re afraid most about “repeating” a moon landing is that there would be no lunar modules, nor the us-flag, nor any other consequent gear found on the moon, since you pricks took some nice shots with Stanley (God have mercy on him) in a sandy beach studio. At least Neil Armstrong had the decency to shut up and not give any more comments on your “glorious” endeavour. You truly are a miserable drunk, I pity you. Hey, btw I think there might be a rotten tomatoes award waiting for your ingenious footage of the earth “seen from the moon”, or something… seriously Buzzz, the problem is that your scam is exactly 40 years old, which makes your playing with the camera iris even so more ridiculous. Sorry.

  • Matthew C. Tedder

    Yes. the Moon is a money hole.. It has almost nothing of value and numerous added expenses (e.g. abrasive soils and lighting that’s either fully lit or pitch black).

    Mars, however, has plenty of water ice, good soil for growing, lots of sun and wind for power generation, and plenty of raw materials for building (e.g. iron ore and oxygen rich perclorates).

    Definitely send the first missions as one-way missions but building craft for return voyages should be practical once manufacturing infrastructure exists. It’s only got 38% of Earth’s gravity so getting back up can be cheaper.. And God forbid global warming occur from industrial pollution..

    I am willing to bounce to the surface and start the work..

  • Khalexus

    re: 38. mochilla.

    Good lord, people STILL go on and fervently deny the Apollo 11 moonlanding?
    For goodness sake, grow up, you people are absolutely ridiculous.
    You know, I actually feel like now it’s a good option to land on the moon – just so you moronic, ignoramuses can be proven wrong at last. Bah, but I’m sure even then you dolts would try to explain it off by claiming the “leftovers” were planted when the next people landed there.

    Back to topic at hand, I’m all for getting humanity to Mars and beyond. I sincerely hope I can live to see it in my lifetime, even if I’m not involved or relocated. Just to see it, and know humanity will evolve out in the stars.

    I don’t think a permanent moonbase is such a ridiculous idea – after all couldn’t it serve as say a repair/re-supply station, without having to land back on earth? It’s all been touched before by previous comments, but launching from the moon would require much less energy and fuel than to launch from the earth.

  • Anonymous

    I think that it would be better to multitask our efforts. First, we establish a reasonably self sufficient, permanent, manned base on the moon. The experience and data gained from this endeavor will be valuable in any attempt to do likewise on mars, and it will also give us a better, lesser gravity launch pad for the mars mission which can be developed while the moon base is operational. Lesser gravity will be a bonus because, as Khalexus has said, it will require much less energy for liftoff. Where does the money come from you say? Pull out of all offensive military operations, halve the inordinately grotesque military budget (still leaving more than enough for a more than ample defense should the need arise), and divert the newfound wealth to NASA. If gov’t had it priorities straight, instead of spending disgusting amounts of taxpayer money blowing to hell anyone who disagrees with them, we’d probably be there already. Hopefully with an actual sane man in the Oval Office we’ll get somewhere now.

    also, if we were to actually harness gravity (and not just centrifugal force, mind you), do you really think the only thing it’s good for is walking around on spaceships? think big, people! i’m thinking of propulsion systems,(pulling the entire ship forward in a vacuum, or just pushing the ambient air backwards in an atmosphere) and bulletproof vests that work, not by cushioning the impact but by pushing the bullet away so it never hits! even the sky isn’t the limit. i’ll leave you to consider theoptions available. imagination workout, begin! 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,other leg, 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3, feel the burn! lol. back to serious now.

    few related links which may explain buzz’s reluctance to return to the moon, or may just simply make you smile.

    http://triptychr.deviantart.com/art/Moon-program-parked-for-good-130133792

    http://hijinksensue.com/2009/08/03/lo-fijinks-what-happens-on-the-moon/

  • http://www.eswynn.com Earl S. Wynn

    I volunteer to be one of the first settlers. No questions asked. I’m ready. Lets go. Right now.

  • Khalexus

    41. Anonymous:

    “Where does the money come from you say? Pull out of all offensive military operations, halve the inordinately grotesque military budget (still leaving more than enough for a more than ample defense should the need arise), and divert the newfound wealth to NASA.”

    ^This.

    Although, in a perfect world I’d go one step further – unite the entire world in a joint space project. With funds from all countries involved, with the best minds at work – we’d be there in no time, I think. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world so it’s very much unlikely to happen.
    But just imagine what we could achieve, if all the world united to work on space population, instead of bickering around. We’d have the funds, we’d have the manpower, and we’d be able to achieve much in (relatively) little time.

  • Abram

    chemical rockets use huge amounts of fuel…
    chemical rockets max speed 10,000 MPH
    Ion engine 200,000 MPH but very fuel efficient but very low power..

    VASIMR Plasma rocket 650,000 MPH max very fuel efficient with more power then an Ion engine.

    A 30KW test I think
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn7wNxg9_Xk

    149KW test
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zSou_r-W9Q

    lunar Tug
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXofYP_VfUg

  • Abram
  • Ed Foster.

    In a rotating space station or spaceship, the difference between a person’s head and feet is great enough that, to more or less balance out coriolis effect and put almost the same gravity at both ends of our intrepid astronaut, the wheel would have to be 150 meters across. Call it 500 feet in diameter, almost 1,600 feet around.

    The French, interestingly enough, came up with a workable inflated rubber space wheel that would take up only one shuttle load. Add aluminum silicate from the moon, cast in 50 pound plates and launched by electric “slingshot” (sled accelerated by electric motors pulling on an aramid belt), a technical option already studied by NASA.

    . Easy to do, given that the moon has only one-sixth of the Earth’s gravity.

    Cover the inflated space wheel with the AlSil plates, as many as needed to provide radiation and meteor protection, then hook on the ion/VASMIR/ground based laser whatever, and a living space 10 meters high, 15 meters wide, and 500 meters long could be sent on it’s way, with the crew enjoying the eqivalent space of a 40 unit apartment house.

    With water storage in a central hub composed of space shuttle belly tanks brought into orbit instead of being jettisoned, an emergency cocoon could be positioned in the center of the tank to provide a shelter during major solar flares, with the water providing 100% radiation protection.

    So, a small lunar program, using off the shelf components, and only enough to create a generating station and the launch apparatus. Three years and it’s done. We could be on our way to Mars in 5 or 6 years, for less money than we’ve wasted on the international space station, an unneeded bureaucratical blunder of essentially no scientific worth.

  • http://windows8tm.com Windows 8 Technical Manual

    Maybe when Mr. Aldrin comes clean on what the ritual was that he conducted 33 minutes after the Apollo 11 landing was all about, and admits to us what he saw (or admits that he can’t remember what he saw) on the moon, then we’ll pay more attention to what he thinks we should do next.
    Disclosure now.

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