MELBOURNE, Fla. --Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin is teaming up with Florida Institute of Technology to develop "a master plan" for colonizing Mars within 25 years. The second man to walk on the moon took part in a signing ceremony Thursday formalizing the establishment of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at the university, which is located in Melbourne, less than an hour's drive from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
The institute will promote the settlement of Mars through research. It is set to open this fall.
The 85-year-old Aldrin, who followed Neil Armstrong onto the moon's surface on July 20, 1969, will serve as a research professor of aeronautics as well as a senior faculty adviser for the institute. Aldrin is pushing for a Mars settlement by approximately 2040. More specifically, he's shooting for 2039, the 70th anniversary of his own Apollo 11 moon landing.
"I’m thrilled to be partnering with FIT in my new home state of Florida," Aldrin said. "I am proud of my time at NASA with the Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 programs but I hope to be remembered more for my contributions to the future."
Aldrin has been promoting the concept of a “Mars Cycler — a spacecraft system with perpetual cycling orbits between Earth and Mars. He has urged Congress to fund efforts to establish a human colony on Mars, saying such a feat is vital if America wants to maintain its leadership role in space exploration.