Buzz Aldrin says NASA Should Ditch The Intentional Space Station

Category: Science Written by Sean Lennox 57 6

Apollo 11 astronaut and American badass Buzz Aldrin , if NASA wants really wants to reach Mars any time soon,  the organization should abandon the International Space Station project.

Aldrin says it’s the best way to devert valuable resources (MONEY).

“We must retire the ISS as soon as possible,” Aldrin said, according “We simply cannot afford $3.5 billion a year of that cost.”

Aldrin made the remark on Tuesday at the 2017 Humans to Mars conference in Washington, D.C.

Instead, Aldrin said NASA ought to farm out low Earth orbit (LEO) projects to private companies, such as SpaceX, Boeing, and Blue Origin. Those sorts of companies—which already handle some resupply duties for the ISS—could even develop their own LEO space stations, potentially in coordination with China, which is planning to put its own midsized space station in orbit around 2023.

Aldrin has proposed a plan to land humans on Mars by 2035, which revolves around the idea of “cycling pathways”—spacecraft that make continuous journeys between Earth and Mars, almost like a shared satellite. In his plan, separate spaceships carrying crew and equipment between the worlds would perform a flying rendezvous with the “cyclers,” linking up with them as they zoom by and catching a ride to the next planet. (As you can see in the image above, he’s also borrowed a catchphrase from Total Recall to promote the plan.)

“The foundation of human transportation is the cycler,” the 87-year-old former astronaut said. “Very rugged, so it’ll last 30 years or so; no external moving parts.”


NASA has a different plan for getting to Mars and the ISS. Thus far, the ISS has been part of the first phase of the project, which includes testing and developing partnerships with private companies. Furthermore, as reports, “NASA officials have repeatedly said that the ISS is a key part of the agency’s ‘Journey to Mars’ vision.”

In March, members of the House Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Space testified that extending U.S. participation in the activities of the ISS beyond the existing 2024 commitment date might not be prudent if getting to Mars is a priority. Right now, NASA spends around $3.5 billion annually on the ISS. The committee’s Chair, U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, commented during that hearing that “Tax dollars spent on the ISS will not be spent on destinations beyond low Earth orbit, including the moon and Mars. What opportunities will we miss if we maintain the status quo?”


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6 thoughts on “Buzz Aldrin says NASA Should Ditch The Intentional Space Station

  1. fred

    I still think Zubrin’s book, “The Case for Mars”, gives the best option. I used it for research when I wrote my screenplay about a Martian settlement.
    I have wanted to go to Mars since I was a young kid in the ’50’s. We should have been there decades ago, and it is easily doable with the technology and resources we currently have. We just lack the will.

  2. betj

    s there anywhere where I could see a model of the orbits for the cyclers between Earth and Mars? I understand the basic concept but seeing the cyclers moving between Mars and Earth in a simulation would be extremely helpful. I don’t really get how the cyclers would continue to show up at the same frequency between the two planets, since their orbits get closer and further away from each other. The orbits for each cycler must vary, but I don’t understand how.

  3. dustin

    Im interested in this stuff, I read that mars one project thing sponsered by Elum Musk and a dutch guy with a community college degree, and were’nt their like 250,000 trekkie people who apllied for that job? They need money and qualified dreamers to make it happen, if you talk of naive, dreamers, well wishers, gullables, dummies and maybe some dollars to throw their way, humanity should help this idea happen, I believe…

  4. cara

    Where have you been Mr B. Recharging your batteries no doubt. I feel that your influence in a classroom setting with science scholars would go further than your intermittent appearances. Try it, you may like it.

  5. bud

    support Dr. Buzz Aldrin. Mars is Earthlings’ new destination. I really want to see that day when an astronaut steps on the soil of Mars. I’m really looking forward to seeing astronauts having a party on Mars

  6. dan

    To be serious about Mars, I really think we should focus on some kind of Mother ship that has capability to drop and retrieve a shuttle craft to the Moon, Mars, whatever. If the first ones there have no means of return, they’ll be dead for sure, likely murder for 3 of the 4. Big money pushing us out there means nothing once feet are actually on Mars. At least a Mother ship would possibly allow retrieval and survival and lessons learned for the next landing. Subsystem failures of any kind could easily mean doom. The insistence of the first people being colonists is too fast and far a reach. They all had better be MacGyver types to last any significant amount of time. 4 people in a pod will not accomplish anything significant to promote further survival of a colony compared to several people, lots of equipment, a supply line, and support, and ability to change out the work force if needed, and the security of knowing returning to Earth is possible.

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