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[i]I felt we needed to test the interplanetary spacecraft and I proposed doing it by flying by a comet, and do some really interesting things, and by going to an asteroid. But going to an asteroid not to investigate or mine the asteroid, it was to test the spacecraft in a different environment.
Now when President Obama and I went down to Florida he mentioned, well, sorta declared that one day we might orbit around Mars but we would visit a specific mission by 2025 we would send humans to an asteroid. That didn't go over too well because there were a lot of details about visiting an asteroid and when can you go back and do something again with it, and what are you going do with humans while they're there... if it's spinning.
And so there was not a whole lot of support for sending humans because they didn't consider the reason was to test the spacecraft, and you just happen to go to an asteroid to do that. But now people have decided they don't want to send a human to an asteroid, it would be too indefinite. So we're going to bring the asteroid back to the Earth-moon system... not a trivial thing.
But when you do that rather difficult thing, I ask myself, what does that contribute to exploration outward? [b]Not very much.[/b] (Aldrin's emphasis). And so I'm not too pleased with the way we were going to send humans there to examine the asteroid, and then we're going to bring it back. Instead of what I intended to do was to just use that as a place of testing the spacecraft until to have the confidence to send it somewhere with people... the moons of Mars, but they're going to stay there with that same spacecraft.[/i]
[i]I really wanted to go down there and listen to what he was going to say, and the best way to get there was to fly down there on Air Force One. [Laughter] Laugh indicates that there was a lot of skepticism as to whether I was going to get on Air Force One. But I did.
And of course I felt in the flight from Andrews (Air Force Base) in Washington that there would be time to maybe have a little bit of a chat with the President about what I thought. Well it turned out that they were revising and revising his remarks all the way down there.
And we land and I still haven't had anyone come and ask me to talk to the President. What they said was 'You're needed at the front door', so I went to the front door and the door opened and the President and I waved to the crowd. [More laughter] Then we went down the stairs together and I realized then that I was the subject of photography on that trip rather than sharing my points of view.[/i]
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