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Aldrin calls for international cooperation on space exploration

Buzz Aldrin presents "Get Your Ass to Mars" T-shirt during his visit to South Korea.

Buzz Aldrin presents “Get Your Ass to Mars” T-shirt during his visit to South Korea. Photo Credit: Buzz Aldrin / Facebook

Buzz Aldrin sees the inevitable need for international cooperation when it comes to space travel. The second man to set foot on the Moon, called on Monday, Sept. 21, for joint efforts to develop future missions to the Moon and Mars. He is convinced that the U.S. should help China, India, and South Korea in achieving their space exploration goals for the sake of humanity.

“America should be able to help China, not compete with, join the ambitious goal for Mars,” Aldrin said during a lecture at the Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

He emphasized the importance of collaboration not only on the national but also on an individual level to achieve advancements in space exploration.

“When people work together, you can sometimes accomplish the impossible. Apollo (mission) could never have happened without the cooperation in efforts of many people working together for a shared goal,” Aldrin said.

Buzz Aldrin meets the Korean Lunar Exploration Mission Team.

Buzz Aldrin meets the Korean Lunar Exploration Mission Team. Photo Credit: Buzz Aldrin / Facebook

Aldrin, the Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 11 mission, is now a strong advocate of sending humans to Mars. He has recently caught the public’s attention by wearing a T-shirt proclaiming “Get Your Ass to Mars” that quickly went viral, and the hashtag #GYATM became almost an internet slogan for enthusiastic supporters of a manned mission to the Red Planet. The Moonwalker is also dedicated to sparking children’s interest in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) through his ShareSpace Foundation.

On Monday, he encouraged more than a hundred students studying astronomy who had gathered in the auditorium, saying “by dreaming big, you can accomplish impossible things.”

“I received quite a warm welcome upon arriving in Seoul! Nice to see young aerospace enthusiasts,” Aldrin tweeted.

Coming back to the topic of space exploration issues, Aldrin emphasized that the U.S. could help South Korea and India to develop their space programs.

“America could help countries like South Korea and India (with space exploration) because America does not need to spend money for what they need, such as designing the landers,” he noted.

South Korea plans to launch its lunar orbiter and a Moon probe by 2020. For 2016, about $8.5 million has been allocated for the mission.

India is now more advanced than its Asian rivals when it comes to space exploration after successfully having its homegrown orbiter sent to Mars, which arrived at the Red Planet a year ago and is still operational. India had also placed a spacecraft in a lunar orbit in 2008. The country is currently working on a second Moon mission and is developing its human spaceflight program.

Aldrin, along with Neil Armstrong touched down on the surface of the Moon on July 20, 1969, under NASA’s first manned lunar landing. The duo helped pave the way for five additional missions to touch down on the lunar regolith. Since that time, Aldrin has been involved on an array of efforts to promote interest in space flight awareness.



Tomasz Nowakowski is the owner of Astro Watch, one of the premier astronomy and science-related blogs on the internet. Nowakowski reached out to SpaceFlight Insider in an effort to have the two space-related websites collaborate. Nowakowski's generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.

Reader Comments

As long as the western nations are ruled by uncompromising politicians there is no chance of a Chinese crewmember on a future mission to the International Space Station let alone Mars. One can only hope that whomsoever becomes U.S. president has some realistic ideas for NASA and not leave it limping along.

China is not the only game in town. There is no shortage of capable nations and space agencies with which we could partner – ESA, Russia, Canada, Japan, India and South Korea to name a few. If we can work with China, that would be good, too.

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