Being one of the first humans on earth to set foot on the moon automatically makes you an icon in the science world. Buzz Aldrin, now 85, continues to make a buzz in the scientific community by adding fuel to a dwindling fire with a recent selfie on Twitter. In the picture, taken at Stonehenge, Aldrin is peeling his shirt back to reveal a message to the sky the way Clark Kent does before he turns into Superman. The message on the shirt reveals the slogan for Get your A** to Mars (GYATM), a foundation supportive of children thriving in science, technology, engineering, arts and arithmetic, which are all necessary for further space travel.
In 1969, Aldrin stepped onto the moon with Neil Armstrong. Aldrin is quoted as saying, “What magnificent desolation!” Space is magnificent and extremely desolate, and the planet Mars is 140,000,000 miles from Earth, which is roughly 54,600,000 miles further than the moon. The problem is motivating the scientific community to make the necessary resources available to accomplish deep space travel, resources that include, but are not limited to, large amounts of money and fuel and the most renowned minds on the planet to come together and embark on a journey into the great beyond.
With NASA predicting manned Mars missions by the year 2035, to make Aldrin wait till he is 105, would certainly make for a less exciting journey. Being an engineer and a former astronaut, the great beyond (Space) is and may still be closer to home than even this planet is for him. CNN reports Aldrin specifically expressed his support of a permanent presence on Mars, saying “It should happen on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s touchdown on the moon,” which would be in the year 2019. Whether or not NASA will grant Aldrin his wish by or before that time is still unclear.
The calculated temperature on the planet Mars is roughly -80 degrees Fahrenheit,which is below freezing. Its surface is rocky, with canyons, volcanoes, and dry areas where there appears to have been lake formations and canyons. With strong winds, dangerous clouds and smoldering temperatures, thick clouds of dust and debris cover most of the desolate planet’s surface. There must be something on this planet worth risking life and limb for – its trademark red color is a sure sign of their being mercury available in high quantities, which scientists believe can be somehow extracted and harnessed.
The fire to explore and to have mankind reach ever-increasing heights continues to burn in Aldrin’s soul. In the years to come, NASA plans to have robots mine alien soil and rocks and bring them back to our planet to be studied. The buzz has been a light in Aldrin ever since he came back to Earth from the Moon. Changed and touched by the experience, it is obvious Aldrin wants more than just some Johnny 5’s picking up rocks and dirt. The time and money it will take to get a human being to Mars safely and to realize his safe passage back is a daunting task, but for our species to continue to thrive, our sites should be set on next frontier.
Written by David Alen Diggs Jr.
Great Beyond – Creativecommons Flickr License
mars_discovery_district – Creativecommons Flickr License