"Fighter pilots have ice in their veins," Aldrin answers. "Fear is a disabling emotion. It prevents you from thinking clearly."
Sunday will mark the 45th anniversary of the moment the world heard those amazing words from Aldrin's Apollo 11 crewmate, the late
Aldrin, now 84, is making much of the anniversary. In a telephone interview, he said he hopes to drop into the
Aldrin wants to see humans travel to Mars - and stay, permanently, something he thinks the US government could accomplish in an international partnership that could include
He'd like Obama's successor to use the 50th anniversary of the landing -
Could someone like SpaceX's
The people who go must be prepared for it to be a one-way trip, living out their lives on Mars, he said. That's more doable than round trips and would keep funding flowing to Mars exploration, unlike a flags-and-footprints stunt.
"If we go and come back, and go and come back, I'm sure
Aldrin has launched a social media campaign featuring a YouTube video in which celebrities and scientists relay their memories of Apollo 11.
"I feel we need to remind the world about the Apollo missions and that we can still do impossible things," Aldrin says in the video.
"The whole world celebrated our moon landing, but we missed the whole thing, because we were out of town."
Aldrin has spent the past 45 years as a living legend, and he creates a stir wherever he goes.
His long-time assistant,
In his book Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration, Aldrin recalls that his Mars ambitions weren't shared by Armstrong, who thought the US should focus on returning to the moon for longer-duration missions. (Armstrong, though taciturn by nature, became vocal in his final years about
Aldrin writes about past visits to the
In his Mars book, Aldrin laments the passing of Armstrong and alludes to the obvious fact that the second man on the moon will never be as famous as the first: "My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world, and he will forever be remembered as the person that represented a seminal moment in human history."
"I am extremely concerned as a patriotic Cold War veteran and Korean War veteran that we remain Number 1," he said. "We are adrift."
Aldrin's longtime friend, aerospace executive
"Who would ever want to do that?" Augustine asked.
To which Aldrin quickly responded: "Did you ever hear of the Pilgrims?" -
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