Buzz Aldrin's Stonehenge Photo, Taken To Rally Support For A Human Settlement On Mars, Is Gold
The idea of a human colony in Mars, once attributed solely to the ramblings of a lunatic, have grown to become a real possibility in the 21st century. Now that dream has the backing of a man who experienced one of humankind's finest moments, as veteran astronaut Buzz Aldrin tweeted a photo with Stonehenge on Monday to rally support for a human settlement on Mars.
In the picture he tweeted, Aldrin is seen standing in front the Stonehenge circle, one of the world's most iconic prehistoric monuments, stretching open his layers of sweaters (à la Superman) to reveal a light blue shirt bearing the words "Get Your Ass to Mars" in a play on NASA's logo as the astronaut looks up to the sky, his white hair billowing in the wind.
As one of the first humans to ever set foot on the moon, Aldrin is a leading proponent of space exploration. In November last year, the 85-year-old wrote an op-ed in TIME advocating for a manned settlement on Mars, following another editorial in July calling for the government to support a colony on the Red Planet. Monday's tweet was part of his campaign for the U.S. to prioritize the long-term goal of establishing human dominance over Mars.
Aldrin wrote in his TIME piece in November:
I firmly believe we will establish permanence on that planet. And in reaching for that goal, we can cultivate commercial development of the moon, the asteroid belt, the Red Planet itself and beyond. ...
We need to look forward to countries around the globe following our lead and establishing a rotating permanence on Mars for science and commercial resources.
Some 45 years ago, when Neil Armstrong and I stepped upon the surface of the moon at Tranquility Base, we fulfilled a dream held by humankind for centuries. Yes, it was one small step. Today, more steps are needed.
Stonehenge is known for dumbfounding scientists and historians alike for the mystery behind its construction, having been built at a time when humans had yet to develop the necessary tools for such a structure. Among the theories surrounding Stonehenge is that extraterrestrial beings arrived on Earth with their advanced scientific knowledge and technology and shared their expertise with neolithic civilizations, thus enabling our ancestors to build the monument. Of course, those are mere theories that have not (yet) been proven.
The caption of Aldrin's tweet is an Arnold Schwarzenegger quote from the film Total Recall that mostly takes place on Mars. Best known for his Apollo 11 moonwalk with Neil Armstrong, Aldrin, who has a Ph.D. in astronautics, has also consulted for the government and addressed Congress members on the country's space program.
The establishment of a human colony on Mars is an ambitious feat, one that has become the primary goal of a Netherlands-based non-profit organization, Mars One. The organization is planning a mission to settle humans there by 2025 in a project that has been widely criticized and most recently accused of being a scam.
For their part, officials at Stonehenge seemed delighted to welcome the second man on the moon, making a quip about Aldrin wondering where the aliens were.
Image: Getty Images