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Buzz Aldrin calls for a migration to Mars

In an op-ed piece, the Apollo 11 astronaut says it's time to get serious about putting humans on the Red Planet.

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Buzz Aldrin wants us to go to Mars.

Emma McIntyre/Getty

For Buzz Aldrin, the moon is no longer enough. 

Aldrin, who, along with Neil Armstrong, walked on the moon during the landmark Apollo 11 mission 50 years ago, penned an op-ed in the Washington Post Wednesday, calling on Congress and President Donald Trump to get behind a serious effort to create a permanent human presence on Mars. 

"Human nature — and potentially the ultimate survival of our species — demands humanity's continued outward reach into the universe," Aldrin wrote.

He's not talking about "clever robots" or rovers, either. Aldrin said that as much as he appreciates NASA's work on unmanned missions, it's time Mars is explored by "by living, breathing, walking, talking, caring and daring men and women."

Plans for sending humans to Mars are on the drawing board at NASA and in the mind of entrepreneur Elon Musk. Although details are sketchy for now, NASA and the Trump administration have penciled in 2033 for when astronauts might make the first footprints on the red planet. Meanwhile, Musk sees a Mars base happening perhaps by 2028, and he has a vision for how a Mars colony could take shape.

Aldrin thinks we need to establish permanent settlements on Mars, and fairly soon.

"All of this is within reach for humans alive now, but it starts with a unified next step in space," he wrote.

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