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MISSION TO MARS: My Vision for Space Exploration

Book Publishes on 54th Anniversary of First U.S Spaceflight


New in paperback from National Geographic, MISSION TO MARS: My Vision for Space Exploration (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-1468-4; on sale May 5, 2015; $14.95; paperback), by celebrated astronaut and best-selling author Buzz Aldrin and space journalist Leonard David, boldly advocates continuing exploration of our solar system. The book, with a foreword by Aldrin’s son Andrew, lays out Aldrin’s goals for the space program and his belief that we can get humans to Mars by the 2030s, a vision shared by President Obama and one that is fortified by private industry and international cooperation.

Aldrin argues passionately for pushing our boundaries of knowledge and exploration of our solar system and presents his “unified space vision.” Aldrin discusses the history of space flight, including a reflective, not nostalgic, look at the people, technologies and steps that were taken to accomplish America’s Apollo moon landings, and he plots a course of future exploration. He says, “Do not put NASA astronauts back on the moon. They have other places to go.” And he emphasizes that the path forward is not a competition; we cannot restart an engine to rerun a race we previously won. We need to be leaders in building an international collaboration combining public and private sector to push the frontier of space exploration beyond where we have already landed. This is a controversial notion that causes significant division among astronauts.

In an interview, Aldrin can discuss:

  • His ShareSpace Foundation and its innovative work in getting kids excited about space exploration.
  • “Get Your A** to Mars” — Aldrin’s T-shirt promoting travel to Mars.
  • The blossoming of space tourism, and why public space travel by private citizens is critical as it makes space more familiar.
  • Why a second race to the moon is a dead end and a waste of precious resources.
  • Why there is high value on the political and collaborative front by letting partners such as China and India tie into the International Space Station.
  • Why there should be a unified international effort to explore and utilize the moon, a partnership involving commercial enterprise and other nationwide building upon the Apollo mission.
  • What Aldrin views as the biggest mistake he ever made relative to the future of the space program.

Aldrin is honest in his critiques of space policy, discussing the economic, political, technological and other issues of viability of various options. It is a personal book in which he discusses his family; his life; his initial rejection by NASA (he was one of the only astronauts who did not start as a test pilot but as an MIT engineer); his eventual journey to the moon; and his hopes and frustrations. He even calls out large aerospace contractors for a lack of transparency with NASA and admits he should have been more vocal in the 1970s about his displeasure with the initial design that preceded the Space Shuttle.

MISSION TO MARS spotlights some of the most important issues facing our nation’s space program today. This book continues to be the cornerstone of speeches Aldrin has been giving around the world, including to Congress.

The book’s May 5 publication date marks the 54th anniversary of the first U.S. spaceflight. On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard made a suborbital flight aboard Freedom 7 as part of Project Mercury.

In 2015-16, National Geographic Books will publish two more books by Aldrin, one for adults and one for children.

About the Authors
Buzz Aldrin, best known for his Apollo 11 moonwalk, holds a doctoral degree in astronautics and, at the age of 85, continues to wield influence as an international advocate of space science and planetary exploration. He has written three nonfiction books, two science fact/fiction novels and two children’s books.

Leonard David is a space journalist, who has reported on space activities for some 45 years. He is the 2010 winner of the prestigious National Space Club Press Award. Currently, David is’s Space Insider Columnist as well as a correspondent for Space News newspaper and a contributing writer for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aerospace America magazine.

About National Geographic Books
National Geographic Books creates and distributes print and digital works that inspire, entertain, teach and give readers access to a world of discovery — and possibility. Each year, we publish more than 150 new books for adults, families and children on a wide range of nonfiction subjects, from animals to travel, cartography to history, fun facts to moving stories. National Geographic books are available in 38 languages and more than 60 countries and in countless bookstores, mass-market outlets, schools, libraries and specialty retailers throughout the world.

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