Forty-eight years after he landed on the moon Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin rolled out a red carpet for the red planet at a gala at Florida's Kennedy Space Center.
Aldrin, 87, marked the July 20 anniversary of the 1969 mission in the Apollo/Saturn V Center and raised more than US$190,000 (HK$1.47 million) for his ShareSpace Foundation.
Aldrin believes people will be landing on Mars by 2040 - a goal NASA shares. The agency is developing the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft to send Americans to deep space.
Apollo astronauts Walt Cunningham, Michael Collins and Jack Schmitt joined Aldrin, one of 12 people to walk on the moon, at the fund-raiser, where he said: "I like to think of myself as an innovative futurist."
The foundation also presented Jeff Bezos with the first Buzz Aldrin Space Innovation Award. Bezos, founder of Amazon and space firm Blue Origin, is trying to cut costs by reusing rockets.
"We can have a trillion humans in the solar system," Bezos said.
"What's holding us back is that space travel is just too darned expensive."