Former U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin urged members of Congress on Tuesday to establish a human colony on Mars and to “combine the mission” with China.
While testifying before the Senate's Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, Aldrin said "there is no more convincing way to demonstrate American leadership for the remainder of this century than to use 20 July 2019, to commit to and execute a permanent presence on Mars.”
NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars by the 2030s.
Aldrin said, "American leadership is inspiring the world by consistently doing what no other nation is capable of doing. We demonstrated that for a brief time 45 years ago. I do not believe we have done it since."
“I envision a program of settlement that schedules most of the crews who go to Mars will remain and establish a permanent settlement there," Aldrin said.
Aldrin also urged lawmakers to work with China’s space station in the near future. The 85-year-old space veteran said, “Do we have a relationship with China? It’s very significant if we’re going to deal with leadership.”
“China needs the things we can build. We need to exert leadership by working with them in the lower orbit. … They got a lot of things to do with the moon, we can help them in their permanence because it helps us with our permanence at Mars," he said.
Aldrin along with fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong were the first humans to land on the moon on July 20, 1969, during the Apollo 11 mission.
Watch Buzz Aldrin above.