Matt Damon The Martian Matt Damon The Martian Matt Damon plays an astronaut who has to survive after being abandoned on Mars in the new Ridley Scott film "The Martian." (Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

Will Mars be the new suburbs in 2040?

Buzz Aldrin joins the ever-growing list of people who think humans should colonize the red planet.

Flash forward a bit, say to 2055. Will the real estate section of the New York Times (likely sent directly to your brain's occipital lobe) have an article titled "Mars: The Sixth Borough?" A growing number of scientists and civilians hope that headline comes true, including legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon, is teaming up with the Florida Institute of Technology on an initiative to colonize Earth's neighbor by the year 2040. Yep, that's a mere 25 years from now. It's a pretty complex endeavor when you think about it: Mars is 55 million miles away from our home, and the missions to Mars that have been in the planning stages for the last few years predict that the flight would take anywhere between six months and a year. The atmosphere there can't sustain human life, so that substantial hurdle would also need to be jumped.

The Mars initiative will likely be part of Aldrin's remarks when he is the keynote speaker at the upcoming International Astronautical Congress in Israel in October. We would love to ask him what he thinks might happen if and when we humans try to gentrify another planet. Maybe he can guess the year the first Marsbucks will open.

But excitement to go to Mars has been building for awhile now, as a group looking for volunteers to colonize the planet – with the knowledge that those who go can never return home, if they even make it there – sparked 200,000 people to volunteer. There will also be a new movie to stoke some Mars fever this fall: "The Martian," a Ridley Scott film starring Matt Damon as an astronaut who tries to manage four years of survival out of 30 days of supplies after he's stranded on the red planet.


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