Legendary Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin this week hailed “all the folks” at NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on the successful landing of the Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars.
Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, following Neil Armstrong, during the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969, shared his observations during a call-in interview on Fox News “Cavuto Live.”
The New Jersey native, who turned 91 in January, has long been an advocate of efforts by the U.S. space program to explore Mars, the next planet after Earth in the direction away from the Sun.
Fox host Neil Cavuto began the segment by sharing the latest video images from Mars that were captured by Perseverance, the fifth rover that NASA has sent to the planet and ninth overall NASA landing there, according to The Associated Press.
“I think its a great tribute to all the folks at NASA, led by Jim Bridenstine and all the other people, especially those in the control room at JPL.”
Bridenstine, the NASA administrator who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, left the agency Jan. 20, as President Biden took office.
Cavuto later asked Aldrin to estimate what year humans will be able to reach the surface of Mars.
“About 10, 20 years ago, my estimate was around 2030, 2033, and that was earlier than most other people were figuring,” Aldrin responded.
Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin. (Associated Press)
“Weve got to do a good number of things in Artemis, our manned program to the moon ,” he continued. “So its gonna take the first one at the moon and then the public is going to be ready to see the next, which will be a sophisticated improvement on manned missions.”
Other planned missions to Mars include the landing of a smaller rover by China, scheduled for late spring, and a spacecraft from the United Arab Emirates that went into Martian orbit last week, the AP reported.
Aldrin was previously in the news in January when he received his first coronavirus vaccine shot, just days ahead of his 91st birthday.
“I urge everyone to sign up for a vaccination as soon as possible when eligible to do, so that life can return to normal soon,” Aldrin wrote on Twitter.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.