Astronaut Buzz Aldrin said in a speech that NASA should retire the International Space Station or privatize it in order to focus on attempts to put humans on Mars.
“We must retire the ISS as soon as possible,” said Aldrin, who traveled with Apollo 11 and walked on the moon, Space.com reported. “We simply cannot afford $3.5 billion a year of that cost.” Aldrin spoke on Tuesday at the 2017 Humans to Mars conference in Washington, D.C.
Low Earth orbit stations like the ISS should be built, staffed, and administered by local companies like Bigelow Aerospace or Axiom Space, Aldrin continued, Space.com reported. NASA has already used companies like SpaceX, Orbital ATK, and Boeing to move equipment and passengers to and from the ISS.
It’s a matter of cost to Aldrin, who would rather see NASA spend its limited funding on human colonization of Mars than on low Earth orbit activities, PC Magazine reported.
Aldrin’s vision for Mars colonization involves first setting up a lunar outpost where technologies can be tested and developed before sending the first crew to Mars in the 2030s.
According to PC Magazine, however, the ISS is funded by NASA through 2024 and provides a place for astronauts to perform experiments, test equipment, and find out what happens to humans who spend extended time in space.
Those Twitter users who had an opinion tended to agree with Aldrin.
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