The second man to walk on the surface of the Moon is urging the human race to journey to Mars and stay there.
In an op-ed published on The Washington Post, American astronaut Buzz Aldrin commended the current administration for committing to send a manned mission to the Moon 50 years after he and colleague Neil Armstrong made that historic first time.
Buzz Aldrin Talks Mars
He is also urging the United States to make launching humans to the Red Planet a priority to ensure the ultimate survival of the species.
"Americans are good at writing fantasy, and incomparable at making the fantastic a reality," he said. "We did it with Mercury, Gemini, Apollo — and in thousands of other ways. It is time we get down to blueprints, architecture and implementation, and to take the next step — a sustainable international return to the moon, directly charting a pathway to Mars."
Moreover, the 89-year-old added that the goal should be to open the door for the "great migration of humankind" to Earth's neighboring planet and, eventually, farther into the universe.
"All of this is within reach for humans alive now, but it stars with a unified next step in space," he stated. "The nation best poised to make it happen is the United States."
This is not the first time that Aldrin has spoken about setting up a permanent human settlement on the surface of Mars. In an interview with Fox News last year, he discussed ideas to make the barren Red Planet more hospitable to human. He said that there is feasibility to the plans put forward by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson.
NASA's Mars Plans
NASA is already on its way to Mars, but it would take a bit more time before the first human makes the first step on a different planet. The U.S. space agency's current plans have a focus on getting American astronauts back to the moon and then setting up a base on Earth's natural satellite.
However, farther into the future, NASA also wants to send a manned mission to the Red Planet by 2030s.
In the meantime, a new rover that will study the Martian environment and identify the challenges that future human expeditions might face will be launched in July 2020. It is expected to arrive in Mars by February 2021.