Monday, July 20, 2009

Apollo Astronauts push for Mars

Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins have called for a mission to Mars rather than the present NASA focus of a return to the Moon. Speaking at a gathering of the Apollo 11 astronauts, including a rare appearance by Neil Armstrong, both Aldrin and Collins expressed a desire to see a Mars landing. Praising the achievements of the Apollo program, Aldrin nevertheless said, "The best way to honour and remember all those who were part of the Apollo programme is to follow in our footsteps; to boldly go again on a new mission of exploration." Collins added, "Sometimes I think I flew to the wrong place. Mars was always my favourite as a kid and it still is today." The return to the moon program is of course by no means certain, and the Obama administration has been somewhat ambivalent about the idea. What this might do for the prospects of a Mars mission is presently anyone’s guess.