The race to reach Mars is heating up with Buzz Aldrin launching the new Buzz Aldrin Space Institute, whose primary goal is to encourage research that leads to the future settlement of Mars. The institute will be located at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), where Aldrin will join the faculty as a Research Professor of Aeronautics and assume the role of Senior Faculty Advisor for the Institute.
The Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 astronaut is no stranger to Mars. Shortly after his retirement from NASA and the Air Force, Aldrin began crafting a master plan to reach the red planet. His original plan called for the use of the Aldrin Mars Cycler, a spacecraft system that would provide regular flights between Earth and Mars. Aldrin has refined his ideas over the years and holds three patents related to space flight. He now brings his knowledge and experience to FIT, which will promote his Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars concept. This proposal calls for progressively challenging missions starting with smaller entities such as asteroids and eventually leading to a surface landing on Mars.
“I’m thrilled to be partnering with FIT in my new home state of Florida,” said Dr. Aldrin. “I am proud of my time at NASA with the Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 programs but I hope to be remembered more for my contributions to the future. FIT will play a key role in my ongoing legacy and Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars. You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
Aldrin isn’t the only dreaming about a human trip to Mars. The privately-funded Mars One project is recruiting its first team of four people with plans to begin the colonization of Mars starting in 2027. The first team will establish a colony with a new four-person crew departing Earth every two years to join the colonists on Mars. NASA also is planning a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s and is conducting dome isolation experiments to prepare people for the long journey. Even billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is on the Mars bandwagon with a proposed mission to the Angry Planet as one of the primary goals of his aerospace company, SpaceX.