U.S. President Barack Obama is meeting Monday with the first astronauts
to walk on the moon, marking the 40th anniversary of the historic steps
seen around the world by hundreds of millions of people.
Mr. Obama is hosting the Apollo 11 crew and the newly confirmed administrator of the U.S. space agency NASA at the White House.
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon, is
pressing for the United States to set its sights on a mission to Mars.
He says Mars appears to be a more suitable and habitable environment
for human beings.
Aldrin on Monday said he believes exploration is about going somewhere
new. He spoke on a panel in Washington with astronauts from several
other Apollo missions.
On July 20th, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong made history as the first
man on the moon. He will forever be remembered for declaring: "One
small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," when he stepped off
the lunar landing craft onto the surface of the moon.
Astronauts have not returned to the Earth's moon since 1972.
Sunday, Aldrin spoke to a packed auditorium at the National Air and
Space Museum in Washington, describing the lunar surface as
"magnificent desolation." He emphasized that it is a lifeless place
that probably has not changed much in 100,000 years.Aldrin
said he would like NASA to come up with a plan that does not abandon
trips to the moon, but instead focuses on a mission to Mars.