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Tuesday, May 11, 1999 Published at 22:47 GMT 23:47 UK


Apollo veteran calls for new vision

Buzz Aldrin: The second man to walk on the Moon

Space hero Buzz Aldrin has attacked the modern world for losing the vision and excitement that inspired the Moon landings.

The world can only benefit from space exploration, says Aldrin
Speaking in London, he said the generation that witnessed the Apollo missions and thrilled to space travel was now afflicted by apathy and had retreated into "risk-free societies".

Aldrin, the second astronaut to set foot on the Moon, made his remarks at a conference on space tourism. He said it saddened him that the enthusiasm for exploring new worlds had waned.

The 69-year-old Apollo veteran said he hoped the situation could be reversed. "I believe that a whole species must have the humility to nurture the Earth and the pride to go to Mars," he said.

Dreams of humanity

Aldrin, who followed Neil Armstrong on to the Moon in July 1969, is now involved in Starcraft Enterprises, which seeks to promote space tourism.

He said: "I believe that accepting the challenges of space exploration will lead to the most prolonged period of socio-economic health the world has seen."

Recalling his historic Apollo XI mission, he added: "For mankind, it was a giant leap. We were privileged to represent the hopes and dreams of humanity.

"It was not the rocks we brought back, or what we said - it was the impact on the lives of millions of people around the world who witnessed it that made the difference."

Shares in space

Aldrin believes space tourism will rekindle the passion of the 60s and early 70s, allowing ordinary citizens the chance to follow in the footsteps of the Apollo pioneers.

Although the cost of sending civilians into orbit would be expensive, Aldrin said his sharespace project would widen the opportunities open to people by operating a lottery.

"A person could purchase a share in the future of space and that share would entitle the individual to enter a draw from which a pool of people would be selected to fly in space."

Aldrin looked forward to the next generation of space rockets which he said would carry between 80 and 100 people, making space flights economically viable.

Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin logged over 288 hours in space.

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