One-way trip to Mars? Let's do it, says Buzz Aldrin: Apollo 11 astronaut says bringing people back isn't worth the money
Buzz Aldrin says the first Mars crews should remain on the red planet
He says for the cost of going to Mars they should not come back at first
Instead they should set up a colony and people should only start returning when a colony of about 100 is settled
Dr Aldrin was talking at MIT’s AeroAstro Centennial Symposium in Cambridge, Massachusetts
However Nasa has been keen to distance itself from one-way trip proposals
They want to send astronauts to Mars - and back - in the 2030s
And Dr Aldrin's fellow panelists also said we should bring Mars crews home
'At the very least, I think that people need a fighting chance to return,’ said former astronaut Vance Brand
Earlier this month Nasa chief Charles Bolden said the first humans set to Mars in the 2030s should be brought back after they’ve completed their mission on the red planet.
But in a talk this week former Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin disagreed - he says the first Martian explorers should be tasked with setting up a colony.
For the cost of getting there, Dr Aldrin says it makes more sense to actually stay on Mars and only bring people back when the colony is settled.
Buzz Aldrin (shown) says the first Mars crews should remain on the red planet. He says for the cost of going to Mars they should not come back at first. Instead they should set up a colony and people should only start returning when a colony of about 100 is settled
'It [will] cost the world - and the US - billions and billions of dollars to put these people there, and you're going to bring them back?' Dr Aldrin said, reports space.com.
What are you going to do when you bring them back here that can possibly compare [to] the value that they would be if they stayed there and Mars wasn't empty?
‘And then, they helped to work with the next group and it builds up a cadre of people.
‘When we've got 100 - or whatever it is - then we start bringing people back.’
Dr Aldrin’s words will likely strike a chord with Nasa, who have been keen to distance themselves from ventures that intend to send people to Mars on one-way trips.
One such venture is Mars One, an ambitious proposal to send a crew to Mars by 2025 with no prospect of bringing them back to Earth.
The mission would see crews and supplies steadily sent over many years, setting up a colony on the red planet and televising the event to RAISE MONEY.
It has been widely condemned by critics, however, with many pointing out the Dutch company has none of the infrastructure required for such a mission, such as a suitable spacecraft or rockets.
In addition, a recent study from MIT found that the Mars One plan was not feasible, and the first crewmember would die in 68 days owing to a lack of supplies.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, meanwhile, has often said that he personally wants to ‘die on Mars - just not on impact.’
His quote has often been misconstrued, however - what he meant is that he wants to live out his days in a colony on Mars.
Nasa, though, is adamant that its first mission to Mars will not be to set up a colony, but rather a scientific mission akin to the moon landings to land and return on the planet.
‘[Elon Musk] wants to die there,’ Nasa chief Charles Bolden said in a talk in London earlier this month. ‘He doesn’t talk about coming back. But he and I disagree on that.
‘If someone wants to come back, I want them to be able to come back.’
Some of Dr Aldrin’s fellow panellists also disagreed with the prospect of a one-way trip to Mars.
‘At the very least, I think that people need a fighting chance to return,’ said former astronaut Vance Brand, who flew on the Space Shuttle and also the first US-Soviet joint spaceflight in 1975.
The MIT AeroAstro Centennial Symposium is continuing with a discussion by Elon Musk later today.