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Buzz Aldrin: Mars, Not Moon, Should Be Next For NASA Astronauts

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By: SPACE.com Staff
Published: 04/01/2013 07:50 AM EDT on SPACE.com

Pioneering astronaut Buzz Aldrin made history as the second man to walk on the moon in 1969, just after Neil Armstrong during the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. More than four decades later, he wants NASA to set its sights on more ambitious destinations, far beyond the moon. Aldrin's target: Mars.

In his upcoming book, "Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration" (National Geographic Books), Buzz Aldrin argues that NASA should strive to put humans on the Red Planet by the mid-2030s and he lays out a plan for how to make it happen.

"Do not put NASA astronauts on the moon. They have other places to go," Aldrin said in the statement.

The book will apparently delve into Aldrin's past — including his service as an Air Force pilot during the Korean War, his initial rejection by NASA and his voyage to the moon — but also promises a critique of current space policy, examining the economic, political and technological viability of various options to explore the solar system.

In the 1980s, Aldrin adapted his expertise in orbital rendezvous to conceptualize the "Aldrin Mars Cycler," a spacecraft transportation system perpetually cycling between Earth and Mars that would make it possible to ferry astronauts back and forth to the Red Planet.

Aldrin has co-authored more than six books and the new one, which will hit stores on May 7, was co-written with space journalist Leonard David, who is a frequent contributor to SPACE.com.

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