Melbourne: Buzz Aldrin, the US astronaut who became the second man to walk on the moon, has said that the US must lead the way towards building a permanent settlement on Mars.
Speaking at a conference of space experts in Washington DC, he said that the US should apply what it learned decades ago, by reaching the moon, towards building a settlement on Mars.
The 83-year-old said at the Humans to Mars conference at George Washington University that the US needs to begin homesteading and settlement of the Red Planet , asserting that it is within reach, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Aldrin said that there is really very little new research that is required now to create a settlement on Mars.
He said that the US needs to continue to be the human space transportation leader and he think that they can capitalise on the dynamism of the commercial market to develop a landing system, which can truly become the basis for a US highway to space.
Aldrin, who has authored a new book titled `Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration,` said that the title should have been Missions to Mars, as the trips will be many and the human presence should be continuous.
Aldrin, who also plugged his plan to send spacecraft on cycling orbits that would engage in perpetual trajectories between earth and Mars, said that he was talking about multiple missions to eventually settle and colonise Mars.
He said that people should focus their attention on establishing a permanent human presence on Mars by the 2030-2040 decade and the US will become a beacon for the development of humanity.
Aldrin described that there could be different modular habitats on Mars, perhaps built by the world`s various space agencies from China, Europe, India, Japan and Russia, with the US in the leadership role.
He said a first step towards permanent settlement would be to send three people to the Martian moon Phobos and use that year and a half to oversee the robotic deployment of the international Mars base.