Buzz Aldrin endorses new US space vision

By AAP with AG Staff 6 October 2010
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Buzz Aldrin, guest of honour at the AG Society awards, endorses Obama’s new plans for space exploration.

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S new space program embraces technological advances and is an improvement on the previous administration’s plan to return to the Moon, former astronaut Dr Buzz Aldrin says.

Buzz was speaking in Sydney on Tuesday at an Australian Geographic press conference. In April he came out in support of President Obama’s program, which controversially scrapped former President George W Bush’s plan to return US astronauts to the Moon by 2020.

“Do you know how long it takes to build a rocket? A long time and it’s expensive and there are a lot of people working on it,” the second man to walk on the Moon in 1969 told reporters.

“Over-budget and over-scheduled”

Since 2005, the US government has spent $US9 billion ($A9.3 billion) on the program. “The manner in which it was implemented turned out to be so over-budget, over-scheduled and going back to the Moon just did not satisfy the advances in technology and the opportunities that we had,” he said.

Buzz, who will be guest of honour at the Australian Geographic Society Awards this evening, said he was disappointed there wasn’t more support for President Obama’s space policy. The policy includes funding for radically new space technologies and a manned spacecraft orbit around Mars within the next three decades.

“I feel like a great future does await us or does await the society that decides to take advantage of the technology that has advanced,” Buzz said. “There are major shiftings of economies throughout the world because of the lower cost of labour and the increases of technology and communications.”

Pleased to be guest of honour

He said he was pleased to be attending the award ceremony in Sydney, where previously unseen remastered video of the Apollo 11 moonwalk, including that from forgotten Australian recordings, will be shown.

A clearer version of the footage of mission commander Neil Armstrong descending the ladder of the lunar module will be among highlights of the historic 1969 moonwalk to be shown at the awards. Other footage to be shown includes digitally remastered images of man’s first step on the moon surface, Dr Aldrin’s descent of the ladder, the reading of the plaque and the raising of the US flag.

Read our exclusive interview “Buzz Aldrin’s vision of future space exploration” here.