Legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin lays out his hopes for colonizing Mars

When I met with Buzz Aldrin to discuss his new book No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon, he described himself as possibly “among the luckiest guys.”

After all, his mother was born in 1903, the same year the Wright brothers made their first flight, and Aldrin himself was born less than three decades later. Yet in the span of his own life he’s seen the beginnings of the American space program, he went to the Moon and today he’s still advocating for the next step — Mars. (In fact, we recently wrote about Destination: Mars, a virtual reality project in which Aldrin participated.)

“I’m playing everything I can to serve my country the best I can,” he told me. “Who are we serving? Generations in the future.”

Much of the current excitement in space travel comes from private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, so I also asked Aldrin about how he sees the government and the private sector working together to get us to Mars.

“It’s government competing with the private sector,” he said. Noting that many private sector efforts are government-subsidized, he added, “The government is going to be strongly involved in going to Mars, but they will be relying more and more on contracting industry and telling them what we want. Then the private sector will be in charge of making it happen. But the prescription will not be, ‘Hey, Elon, go do what you want.'”

Watch the interview above in 360 degrees here: