cover image Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration

Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration

Buzz Aldrin, with Leonard David. National Geographic (Random House, dist.), $26 (272p) ISBN 978-14262-1017-4

Aldrin makes a daring proposal for further space exploration in this exciting glimpse of the new new frontier. With the passing of Neil Armstrong last year, Aldrin is now the only surviving member of the NASA team that first set foot on the moon. As such, he offers a unique perspective on where to take the next small step. In what might seem a giant leap of the imagination, he envisions a joint world effort to establish “an American-led permanent human presence on Mars by 2035.” Ever the levelheaded problem solver, Aldrin addresses obvious financial and technological issues, and suggests ways to get around them. For example: tourism, reusable materials, and lunar and asteroidal mining could all be marshaled to help offset otherwise prohibitive costs; bases on our moon and Mars’s (Phobos) could make low-gravity launches feasible. For those still unconvinced, Aldrin reminds us that a lunar station could also serve as the first defense to spot and deflect Earth-endangering asteroids. With all the ardor of a child raised on Buck Rogers, Aldrin imagines terraforming Mars into “humankind’s future home.” Starry-eyed kids and those old enough to remember the original Space Race will appreciate his enthusiastic vision. (May 7)