Buzz Aldrin: 'Earth isn't the only world for us anymore'

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Buzz Aldrin Developing Plan to Colonize Mars


In honor of World Space Week, world famous astronaut Buzz Aldrin shared his dream for the future of space travel with AOL.com.

First of all, I want to salute the efforts of the World Space Week that embraces the activities of some 80 countries around the globe. This initiative helps focus attention by everyone to the innumerable space exploration events that continue to surprise, puzzle, and motivate all of us year after year.

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On one hand, we celebrate each year the solid progress of international space science and technology that helps to improve the human condition – not only to make Earth a better place, but also to stretch our collective imaginations beyond low Earth orbit to worlds beyond.



I am fortunate to have been on the first landing crew to step onto and explore the "magnificent desolation" that is the Moon – and it's been over 45 years ago!

READ MORE: NASA just released 9,200 Apollo mission photos that will change how you see space

Since the Apollo 11 landing in July 1969, I have had a long-held belief that Earth isn't the only world for us anymore. In my view, we must all strive for a continuously expanding human presence in space.

See photos of the Apollo 11 moon landing:

26 PHOTOS
Apollo 11 Moon Landing
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Buzz Aldrin: 'Earth isn't the only world for us anymore'
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1754: US Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, walking on the Moon July 20 1969. Taken during the first Lunar landing of the Apollo 11 space mission by NASA. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
In this July 20, 1969 photo provided by NASA shows Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. Apollo 11 astronauts trained on Earth to take individual photographs in succession in order to create a series of frames that could be assembled into panoramic images. This frame from Aldrin's panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site is the only good picture of mission commander Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. The family of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, says he has died at age 82. A statement from the family says he died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. It doesn't say where he died. Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969. He radioed back to Earth the historic news of "one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs. In all, 12 Americans walked on the moon from 1969 to 1972. (AP Photo/NASA, Buzz Aldrin)
FILE - In this July 20, 1969 file photo, Astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. poses for a photograph beside the U.S. flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. (AP Photo/Neil Armstrong, NASA, file)
Photograph of Astronaut Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 space mission. Dated 1969. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY: The crew of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission, the astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin are in quarantine after their return from the moon in the United States in Luly 1969. (Photo by Frederic CASTEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 21: Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, was launched on 16th July 1969 and Neil Armstrong and Aldrin became the first and second men to walk on the Moon on 20th July 1969. The third member of the crew, Command Module pilot Michael Collins, remained in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. Aldrin was the Lunar Module pilot on the mission. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
376713 11: (FILE PHOTO) A view of the Earth appears over the Lunar horizon as the Apollo 11 Command Module comes into view of the Moon before Astronatus Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. leave in the Lunar Module, Eagle, to become the first men to walk on the Moon's surface. The 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon mission is celebrated July 20, 1999. (Photo by NASA/Newsmakers)
UNITED STATES - MAY 30: Aldrin is shown beside the foot of the Lunar Module. Apollo 11, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong - Commander, Michael Collins - Command Module pilot and Edwin Aldrin - Lunar Module pilot, was the first manned lunar landing mission. It was launched on 16th July 1969 and Armstrong and Aldrin became the first and second men to walk on the moon on 20th July 1969. Collins remained in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. The astronauts returned to Earth on 24th July 1969. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin carries scientific experiments to a deployment site south of the lunar module Eagle. One experiment involved the inner composition of the moon, and another tried to determine the exact distance from Earth. Photo was taken by Neil Armstrong of the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969. (AP Photo/NASA/Neil Armstrong)
IN SPACE - JULY 11: The American Flag Is Planted On The Lunar Surface By The Men Of Apollo 11 In July 1969. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 08: Aldrin is shown deploying the Passive Seismic Experiments Package (PSEP) on the lunar surface. The PSEP was one of the experiments that were carried out during the lunar landing missions. Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, was launched on 16th July 1969 with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin �Buzz� Aldrin and Michael Collins on board, and Armstrong and Aldrin became the first and second men to walk on the Moon on 20th July 1969. Collins, the Command Module pilot, remained in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
FILE: In this July 20, 1969 file photo, a footprint left by one of the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission shows in the soft, powder surface of the moon. Commander Neil A. Armstrong and Air Force Col. Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. became the first men to walk on the moon after blastoff from Cape Kennedy, Fla., on July 16, 1969. The family of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, says he died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at age 82. A statement from the family says he died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. It doesn't say where he died. Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969. He radioed back to Earth the historic news of "one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs. In all, 12 Americans walked on the moon from 1969 to 1972. (AP Photo/NASA)
UNITED STATES - MAY 17: Aldrin became the second man to walk on the Moon after he stepped off this ladder on 20th July 1969. The picture was taken by Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon. The third member of the Apollo 11 crew, Michael Collins, remained in lunar orbit in the Apollo Command and Service Module while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
The Apollo Lunar Module known as the Eagle descends onto the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, 20th July 1969. This is a composite image comprised of two separate shots. (Photo by Space Frontiers/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A television screen grab shows the members of mission control waving flags and celebrating the splashdown and return of the crew of the Apollo 11, Texas, July 1969. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
FILE - In this July 21, 1969 file photo provided by NASA, mission control personnel watch the moon walk by Apollo 11 astronauts, in Houston. (AP Photo/NASA, file)
An estimated 10,000 persons gather to watch giant television screens in New York's Central Park and cheer as astronaut Neil Armstrong takes man's first step on the moon on July 20, 1969. The Apollo 11 lunar mission was launched July 16. (AP Photo)
Apollo 11 Splashdown - Hushed crowd watches on mobile TV setup at 53d St. and Park Ave., as moon men return. (Photo By: Jack Smith/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 17: The Apollo 11 rocket is on its mobile launch platform just after roll out from the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Centre, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on its way to Launch Complex 39A. Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, was launched on 16th July 1969 with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin �Buzz� Aldrin and Michael Collins on board, and Armstrong and Aldrin became the first and second men to walk on the Moon on 20th July 1969. Collins, the Command Module pilot, remained in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 15: The Apollo 11 launch vehicle is on its mobile launch platform just after roll out from the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Centre, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on its way to Launch Complex 39A. Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, was launched on 16th July 1969 with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin �Buzz� Aldrin and Michael Collins on board, and Armstrong and Aldrin became the first and second men to walk on the Moon on 20th July 1969. Collins, the Command Module pilot, remained in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. The massive Saturn V rocket, over 100 metres tall, was the largest rocket ever built and was used on all the Apollo missions to the Moon. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 08: Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin �Buzz� Aldrin standing by a boiler plate Apollo capsule on the deck of the NASA vessel Retriever during water egress training in the Gulf of Mexico. Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, was launched on 16th July 1969 and Neil Armstrong and Aldrin became the first and second men to walk on the Moon on 20th July 1969. Command Module pilot Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. The astronauts returned to Earth on 24th July 1969. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JULY 24: US Navy pararescueman Lt. Clancey Hatleberg disinfects Apollo 11 Astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. after getting into the life raft during recovery operations on July 24, 1969 at the completion of their successful lunar landing mission. (Photo by 8383/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Astronaut Michael Collins wears the space helmet for the Apollo 11 moon mission, on July 20, 1969. He'€™ll be in the command module when fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. descend on the lunar surface in the lunar module to take a walk on the moon early Monday. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this 1969 photo provided by NASA the crew of the Apollo 11 mission is seen. From left are Neil Armstrong, Mission Commander, Michael Collins, Lt. Col. USAF, and Edwin Eugene Aldrin, also known as Buzz Aldrin, USAF Lunar Module pilot. The family of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, says he died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at age 82. A statement from the family says he died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. It doesn't say where he died. Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969. He radioed back to Earth the historic news of "one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs. In all, 12 Americans walked on the moon from 1969 to 1972. (AP Photo/NASA, File)
UNITED STATES - MAY 14: This picture was taken by the Apollo 11 astronauts on their journey to the moon. Spain, North Africa and the Middle East can clearly be seen. Apollo 11, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin �Buzz� Aldrin and Michael Collins, was the first manned lunar landing mission. It was launched on 16th July 1969 and Armstrong and Aldrin became the first and second men to walk on the moon on 21st July 1969. Collins remained in lunar orbit. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 29: This view of the Earth appearing above the lunar horizon was taken by astronauts during the Apollo 11 mission. Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, was launched on 16th July 1969 with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin �Buzz� Aldrin and Michael Collins on board, and Armstrong and Aldrin became the first and second men to walk on the Moon on 20th July 1969. Collins, the Command Module pilot, remained in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. The astronauts returned safely to Earth on 24th July 1969. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
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Secondly, I see America's global leadership role in space as one that that translates into it being a global "team player" for space. That includes the U.S. collaborating with India, China, South Korea and other spacefaring nations to strengthen an American-led international permanence on the planet Mars.

And there's much work to be done. We need to spark global thinking and support for building a sustained human presence on the Red Planet.

And what does it take to do that? It takes vision and a need to cultivate space program projects focused on Mars with achievable stepping stones.



For my part, I have been blueprinting a vision for the Red Planet: Establishing Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars. When I look into the coming years, I envision a sequential buildup of a cycling spaceship network. The Earth, the Moon, and Mars become interlaced and will be a busy nucleus of people, cargo and commerce that navigate throughout the inner Solar System.



The challenge ahead for all of us is not only monumental, but historic. Similarly, Apollo 11 symbolized the ability to envisage a truly path-breaking idea, prioritize it, create the technology to advance that inspiration ... and then ride it to a finishing point – the Moon.

But the first footfalls on Mars will signal an "earth-shattering" milestone. That is, by accomplishing that goal -- and then building upon that first step – it will represent a global, human enterprise that required tenacity matched with technology.

After Mars ... what next?

Humanity then has the ability to reach from the Red Planet into the resource-rich bounty of the Martian satellites and the nearby asteroids. These invaluable resources can be tapped to sustain increasing numbers of Martian settlers from Earth.

From there, it's quite literally the stars.

Thanks to such undertakings as World Space Week, the quest to expand our frontiers into space becomes a shared vision.

My last thought and a take home message: No dream is too high for those with their eyes in the sky!

PHOTOS: Buzz Aldrin through the years

29 PHOTOS
Astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin through the years
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Buzz Aldrin: 'Earth isn't the only world for us anymore'
Astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin is shown in his spacesuit in 1966. (AP Photo)
U.S. Astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. is shown in space suit, Sunday, July 21, 1969 similar to the one he wore while walking on the surface of the moon. Aldrin followed Neil A. Armstrong onto the surface of the earthâs barren satellite. (AP Photo)
Astronaut and Air Force Col. Edwin Aldrin, is shown, Jan. 9, 1966. (AP Photo)
Apollo 11 astronauts Mike Collins (left), Neil Armstrong (centre), and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, in front of the Lunar Landing Module Simulator at the Kennedy Space Centre, USA, prior to their landing on the moon. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
Astronaut Neil Armstrong, left, the first man scheduled to walk on the moon, displays a plaque that will be attached to a landing leg of the lunar module descent stage and will be left on the moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts. In center, Col. Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin holds the Apollo 11 insigna at a news conference at the Space Center in Houston, Texas on July 5, 1969. Command Module pilot Lt. Col. Michael Collins is at right. (AP Photo)
US Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, walking on the Moon July 20 1969. Taken during the first Lunar landing of the Apollo 11 space mission by NASA. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission in a photo released by NASA's Apollo Archives project. (Photo via NASA)

The Apollo 11 astronauts, left to right: Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.; Neil A. Armstrong; and Michael Collins, wore happy expressions as they finished their news conference at the Manned Spacecraft Center, Tuesday, August 13, 1969, Houston, Tex. It was their first public appearance since their historic moon voyage. Today they will get real taste of exposure to the public when they travel to New York and Chicago for parades and to Los Angeles for a state dinner with President Nixon. (AP Photo)
Air Force Col. Edwin âBussâ Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut who was the second man on the moon, meets newsmen at the Pentagon, Jan. 19, 1971, Washington, D.C. Aldrin, who said last week he was leaving the space program, was named today to head the aerospace research pilots school at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (AP Photo)
Apollo 11 astronaut, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin at news conference, July 19, 1979 on the 10th anniversary of historic moon landing. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi)
WASHINGTON, : The crew of Apollo 11 Michael Collins (L), Neil Armstrong (C) and Buzz Aldrin stand in front of the Apollo command module Columbia after US Vice President Al Gore awarded them the Samuel P. Langley medal 20 July, 1999 at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Armstrong was the first man to step on the moon 30 years ago 20 July 1969 followed by Aldrin while Collins remained in the orbiting command module. AFP PHOTO/Joyce NALTCHAYAN (Photo credit should read JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images)
370150 04: Buzz Aldrin, NASA astronaut and lunar module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission, poses for a photograph May 25, 2000 at Borders Books in Chicago. Aldrin was at the bookstore to discuss and sign copies of his new book 'The Return.' (Photo by Tim Boyle/Newsmakers)
Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin speaks during the Olender Foundation 15th Anniversary Awards presentation ceremony December 6, 2000 at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Aldrin was presented with the American''s Role Model 2001 Award. (Photo by Alex Wong/Newsmakers)
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin poses with his wife Lois outside Mr. Chow''s restaurant June 11, 2001 in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Getty Images)
Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin talks about the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster during a taping of NBC's 'Meet the Press' February 2, 2003 at the NBC studios in Washington, DC. Columbia disintegrated as it returned to Earth after a 16-day mission, killing all seven astronauts aboard. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
American Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and wife Lois arrive at the premiere of "Grace is Gone" in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Wednesday, Nov. 28 , 2007. (AP Photo/ Matt Sayles)
American aviator and astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first lunar landing, during the Italian State RAI TV program "Che Tempo che Fa", in Milan, Italy, Wednsday, May 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)
President Barack Obama, right, greets Buzz Aldrin, left, Michael Collins, and Neil Armstrong on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, in the Oval Office at The White House in Washington Monday, July 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Former U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin is seen in Monaco Monday, July 27, 2009. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, and his wife Lois attend the 2009 Great Sports Legends Dinner benefiting The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
In this July 20, 2009, photo, Buzz Aldrin, left, Michael Collins, center, and Neil Armstrong stand in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Neil Armstrong was a quiet self-described nerdy engineer who became a global hero when as a steely-nerved pilot he made "one giant leap for mankind" with a small step on to the moon. The modest man who had people on Earth entranced and awed from almost a quarter million miles away has died, according to his family, on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. He was 82. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
FILE - In this April 15, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama, left, and Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin walk toward Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., for a day trip to Florida. Aldrin, 84, is asking everyone to remember where they were when he and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to walk on the moon and to share their memories online. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez, File)
Buzz Aldrin attends the 'Transformers: Dark Of The Moon' premiere in Times Square on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin gestures after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Los Angeles Dodgers' baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, May 27, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Space pioneer Buzz Aldrin announces AXE to Send 22 Guys to Space with New Apollo Campaign at American Museum of Natural History on January 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for AXE)
Buzz Aldrin presents the mankind award at Spike TV's Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Culver City, Calif. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP)
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon, speaks on the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Mass., during a program "Celebrating 100 Years of MIT Aerospace," Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. MIT is commemorating 100 years of aeronautics and astronautics research at the school with the three-day "AeroAstro Centennial Symposium." (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 14: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Baroness Kimberly Moore arrive at Women's Image Network's 16th annual Women's Image Awards at Beverly Hills Women's Club on December 14, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 24: Former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin prepares to testify before the Senate Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee on Capitol Hill February 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on the topic of 'U.S. Human Exploration Goals and Commercial Space Competitiveness.' (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Buzz Aldrin, best known for his Apollo 11 moonwalk, holds a doctoral degree in astronautics and continues to wield influence as an international advocate of space science and planetary exploration. Aldrin and co-author, Leonard David, wrote Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration, published in 2013 by the National Geographic Society. Aldrin's new children's book, Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet, co-authored with Marianne Dyson, was published this September. This is an unsponsored opinion post. The opinions and information expressed belong to the author.​

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