A nonprofit group called Mars One hopes to start a permanent human civilization on Mars by the year 2023, and as of a few weeks ago, 78,000 people had volunteered for the honor of serving as colonists. Buzz Aldrin — legendary astronaut, second man on the moon, Axe pitchman — is a big proponent of the idea. "Well, I certainly believe that when governments like the United States lead other international governments to Mars, it should be for permanence," Aldrin told Daily Intelligencer at the premiere of After Earth last night at the Ziegfeld Theater. However, when we asked if he would accept a one-way ticket to Mars, he laughed and told us he wouldn't. "No," he said. "I'm trying to lead the support, the idea, the experience that I have devoted to planning the best way to, number one, retain U.S. leadership and, number two, expand human presence out."
In addition to the potential colonization of Mars, Aldrin also expressed enthusiasm about Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's "Space Oddity" video, which became something of a viral sensation. "I think that's the kind of thing that brings space right down to earth," Aldrin told us. "People like music, they like to participate. That's why I did a rap song with Snoop Dogg, Dancing With the Stars, 30 Rock. You know, all those things are trying to bring people who have been into space — not just myself but many others — into the ordinary lives and entertainment of a lot of other people."
Aldrin never did much singing in space himself, however. "You're in the helmet, and you can sing to somebody back in Houston, I guess," he says, "but inside the spacecraft with only about five pounds per square inch, that kind of changes tones."