Ex-astronaut Buzz Aldrin has teamed up with the Florida Institute of Technology as it looks to create a blueprint for colonizing Mars within the next quarter of a century. Aldrin, who became the second man to walk on the moon in 1969 after his fellow space traveller Neil Armstrong, said at a press conference on 27 August that he hopes: "To become much more involved in the operations and the guidance of our space program, mostly Nasa, but strongly encouraging international involvement."
The 85-year old will take up a role as research professor for aeronautics and will also act as senior faculty adviser for the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute which is set to open in autumn.
The initial concept that Aldrin has in mind is a program called Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars. Aldrin said that his "master plan" will involve sending willing participants on a one-way trip to the Red Planet with a potential stop off at its moons, Phobos and Deimos.
Aldrin said: "The pilgrims on the Mayflower came here to live and stay. They didn't wait around Plymouth Rock for the return trip, and neither will people building up a population and a settlement" on Mars.
Florida Tech president and CEO Anthony J Catanese added: "Florida Tech has long been at the forefront of exploration — since the days of our founding in 1958, serving as the 'night school for missilemen' when America began the race for space at Cape Canaveral.
"Having Dr Aldrin build this new initiative at Florida Tech is indeed an honour. We look forward to meaningful collaboration as humankind's new vision for space unfolds."
Aldrin added in a press release: "I'm thrilled to be partnering with FIT in my new home state of Florida. I am proud of my time at Nasa with the Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 programs but I hope to be remembered more for my contributions to the future. FIT will play a key role in my ongoing legacy and Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars. You ain't seen nothing yet!"