Many of us were elated at NASA's announcement about Mars on Monday. Unsurprisingly, so was the second man on the moon, a historical figure who even today continues to push for space exploration. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin's op-ed on Mars' water discovery highlighted exactly that: the hope that humans will someday inhabit Mars.
"For future Martians there was great news this week," Aldrin wrote in his Time editorial. "Mars researchers revealed the strongest evidence yet that liquid water is flowing on the Red Planet. That prospect can help sustain humanity's presence there and establish a growing settlement on that world."
But Aldrin also highlighted the nature of Mars' water itself — "briny, rather than pure, and loaded with deadly perchlorates," he wrote. But he remained optimistic about the opportunity that it presented, noting that treating the water could potentially enable vegetation to grow and fish to thrive.
"That all adds up to the ability of humans to live off the land," Aldrin wrote. "Marsland."
While the source of the water hasn't yet been found, there is a suspicion that the water is coming from underground. Lead scientist Michael Meyer for NASA's Mars Exploration Program in Washington said in a statement that further studies of Mars could yield results that show where the resources to support life in the future are.
Aldrin has long advocated the human exploration of Mars. "It's a reasonable time to contribute to the history of the human race by establishing a growing settlement with sustainability on the surface of Mars," Aldrin has said. "Now that's exciting to me."
As one of the first men to set foot on the moon, Aldrin remains a supporter of deep space exploration, particularly when it comes to the U.S.' role as a pioneer in that department.