Buzz Aldrin Says NASA Should Ditch the ISS and Make the Mars Jump
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin is done with the International Space Station and he maintains that NASA officials need to pull the plug on the ISS entirely, and as soon possible, if they want to really get serious about undertaking the journey to Mars
Why? Well, because of the money, of course. The ISS costs about $3.5 billion per year to maintain. That would be fine if NASA were awash in all the funding it could possibly need, but the federal space agency has only so much to spend. In Aldrin's opinion, it's a waste to keep dumping money into the ISS, which has been orbiting the Earth for years now.
"We must retire the ISS as soon as possible," Aldrin said at the 2017 Humans to Mars conference in Washington, D.C. this week. "We simply cannot afford $3.5 billion a year of that cost."
Aldrin is being pragmatic, but his advice on the ISS doesn't mean he wants to give up on orbital space flight altogether. But instead of using NASA's own resources to keep up a presence in low Earth orbit, Aldrin thinks that the federal space agency should be giving private companies like SpaceX, Boeing and Blue Orbital these projects. These companies might even develop their own space stations and work with China since the Chinese are planning to put their own mid-sized space station into orbit by 2023.