Buzz Aldrin, the second astronaut to walk on the moon, is now advocating for human exploration of Mars.
USA Today reports that a new virtual reality (VR) exhibit is helping spread interest in Aldrin’s vision by exposing participants to what a visit to Mars may be like.
The installation includes a VR tour of Mars and the Moon conducted by a 3-D image of Aldrin. Aldrin envisions permanent colonization of Mars involving at least 150 explorers, brought to the Red Planet in batches of 18 crew at a time.
“The moon landing was a monumental achievement for humanity, but there’s no greater mission than mankind’s journey to Mars,” Aldrin said.
Aldrin recognizes that private spaceflight companies SpaceX and Blue Origin are making advances in the realm of deep space travel, with an eye towards settling humans on Mars.
“They are moving rather rapidly,” Aldrin said of the two commercial ventures.
Aldrin previewed the VR film at the South by Southwest interactive film conference on Tuesday. The VR experience was created by holographic technology company 8i.
In 1985, Aldrin began suggesting the possibility of Mars exploration, proposing a spacecraft trajectory that uses less propellant than conventional space travel. His method has come to be known as the “Aldrin cycler.”
Aldrin hopes that the VR program, called “Buzz Aldrin’s Cycling Pathways to Mars,” will increase support for a Red Planet colonization venture to being in 2019 on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Aldrin would like to see the first crewed transport head to Mars in 2021.