The second man to walk the moon is looking to create a 'master plan' to help settle humans on Mars.
Buzz Aldrin announced Thursday he would be partnering with the Florida Institute of Technology to develop a plan to colonize the Red Planet by 2039, the 70th anniversary of his own Apollo 11 moon landing.
The schedule is “adjustable,” the retired astronaut and former Air Force colonel said Thursday at a ceremony at the university, where the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute will open this fall. He said he will be taking input from the international community, and is hopeful the plan will be accepted by NASA, which is currently working on a mission to send flights to Mars by the mid-2030s.
Asked about “one-way” missions, Colonel Aldrin told reporters he dislikes the label. Instead, he said he envisions tours of duty lasting about 10 years, with Mars’ moons, Phobos and Deimos, serving as stepping stones along the way.
"The Pilgrims on the Mayflower came here to live and stay. They didn't wait around Plymouth Rock for the return trip, and neither will people building up a population and a settlement" on Mars, said Aldrin, according to the Associated Press.
Aldrin, who has a doctorate in science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will serve as a research professor of aeronautics at the school, as well as a senior adviser for the institute.
Also on the faculty are two other space fliers, former shuttle astronauts Winston Scott and Samuel Durrance.
There were several light-hearted references at the ceremony to Aldrin’s celebrity appearances, reported Sky News.
In his introduction of Aldrin, Florida Tech's executive vice president T Dwayne McCay said, “Everyone knows what Buzz Aldrin is most famous for, and that's being a contestant on Dancing With The Stars.”
"Big Bang Theory,” corrected Aldrin.
This report contains material from the Associated Press.