Buzz Aldrin, race car enthusiast, second man on the moon, and all-around unrestrained badass took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Committee on Thursday, gave a fiery speech about the future of space exploration, and left to a standing ovation.
Oh yeah, and it gets better — he entered the stage to Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” which is almost like cheating, because anyone who doesn’t get amped by a song composed exclusively for the Top Gun soundtrack is clearly some kind of non-human robot.
Aldrin was one of the most popular speakers at CPAC, where he spoke “not as a Republican, or as a Democrat, certainly not as an advisor to any candidate but as an American patriot willing to help all candidates ensure that our great nation remains the leader in space for decades to come.”
Aldrin devoted most of his speech to a passionate, technologically specific stump for the future of space exploration. It couldn’t have been an easy crowd, as the Republican party isn’t usually particularly receptive to the concept of science.
“It is now, on our watch, in this moment, at this exact time, that we must prove ourselves equal to this challenge,” Aldrin said. “And get this courageous, exploring, spacefaring nation back on track, and out to the surface of Mars, to continue Mankind’s unending legacy of exploration.”
Apparently, the crowd loved it.
It’s possible that some of the inevitable science-deniers were just scared into applause, because we know Aldrin doesn’t take any shit from people who question him, like the moon landing conspiracy theorist he decked in public a few years ago.
Aldrin said he thinks humans could have a permanent base on Mars by 2040 through a plan he called “Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars,” which he said is under development by scientists at Purdue, MIT, and Florida Tech. Cycling Pathways would rely on a constant shuttle system ferrying reusable spacecraft between Earth, Mars, and Mars’ moon Phobos, like ferry boats bringing passengers across a river.
Aldrin closed his speech with the inspiration-burners on full overdrive, daring conservatives to start taking science seriously while playing to the party’s religious base.
“Listen closely to my challenge – The President who appeals to our higher angels and takes us closer to the heavenly body we call Mars, will not only make history – he will long be remembered as a pioneer for Mankind to reach, to comprehend and settle Mars. And if not now, when? And if not us, who?”
You can read the full transcript of his speech or watch it below.