CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Forty-eight years after he landed on the moon, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin said he shares NASA’s optimism about travel to Mars.
Aldrin, 87, commemorated the upcoming anniversary of the 1969 mission to the moon on a Saturn V rocket during a weekend gala at the Kennedy Space Center. He raised more than $190,000 for his nonprofit space education group, the ShareSpace Foundation.
Aldrin believes people will be able to land on Mars by 2040, a goal that NASA shares. The space agency is developing the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft to send Americans to deep space.
Apollo astronauts Michael Collins, Walt Cunningham, and Harrison Schmitt joined Aldrin, one of 12 people to walk on the moon, at the sold-out fund-raiser.
During the gala, the ShareSpace Foundation presented Jeff Bezos with the first Buzz Aldrin Space Innovation Award. Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com and the spaceflight company Blue Origin, is trying to bring the cost of space travel down by reusing rockets.