AMES, Iowa – Forty-five years ago Sunday, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step foot on the moon as part of the historic Apollo 11 mission.
NASA would send American astronauts to the moon five more times, with the last mission, Apollo 17 launching in 1972.
A local astronaut says it’s time to go back if we hope to someday explore other planets.
“I think that’s where we should go next. I’m not a fan of the asteroid retrieval mission. I think it’s a great mission but for us to think about going to mars, we need a lunar base where we can test out technologies and live off the land if you will,” said retired NASA astronaut, Clayton Anderson.
Anderson earned his master’s degree at Iowa State University and currently teaches aerospace engineering courses at the school.
He worked for NASA for thirty years, launching twice to the International Space Station.
Funding for NASA has taken a major hit over the past decade. Anderson is working on educating people on how important the space program is to our future.
“If people understood that tax dollars towards their space program was an investment in technology development, I think they would be more likely to support it,” Anderson told Channel 13 News.
Seven Iowa natives have worked for NASA.
Anderson grew up in Nebraska before continuing his education at Iowa State.
For more on Clayton, you can visit astroclay.com.