Part of complete coverage on
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin's vision of space tourism for the masses
August 16, 2013 -- Updated 0221 GMT (1021 HKT)
- Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin wants to see space travel more accessible to the masses
- He works with the U.S. government to discuss the future of the country's space program
- Private companies are influencing space travel more than in the past, when the government dominated exploration
- Aldrin supports a lottery system for deciding who will become space tourists
(CNN) -- Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin is one of the privileged few to have walked on the moon, but he hopes space tourism will be much more of an equal-opportunity experience.
More than 40 years after the historic moon landing, Aldrin is now consulting for the U.S. government about the future of the country's space program and how to make space more accessible to everyday people.
NASA has driven space exploration for decades, but with the rise of Virgin Galactic, Space X and other companies that focus on suborbital flights, the private sphere and government programs are appearing to intersect in the realm space travel.
"Private wants a return on investment, a profit. I think there's some profits to be made by going to the moon," Aldrin says.
Read more: Is $250,000 a bargain for a seat into space?
The world's first space tourism venture
Experiencing zero gravity on earth
Are pilotless planes within reach?
The bigger question may be how passengers are to be chosen. When this question was discussed 25 years ago, Aldrin says, an obvious answer was to offer the flights to the highest bidders.
"But somebody in the back of the room said, 'How about a lottery?' Man, my ears perked up at that, and I became a devotee of a lottery to select people," he says.
A lottery system would produce the kind of return on investment Aldrin wanted to see. "I wasn't interested in a big payoff or the profit made. I was interested in exposing space to a large number of people," he says.
Read more: Your own private Airbus A319 jet
I wasn't interested in a big payoff or the profit made. I was interested in exposing space to a large number of people.
Nowadays, Aldrin spends most of his time on the road, with a schedule packed with scuba diving trips, international meetings on space, visiting members of Congress and developing his nonprofit organization, which aims to build interest in space and advocate for affordable space travel.
Even for the man who has logged more than 280 hours in space and has literally seen the world, the inconvenience of earthly travel can still get to him -- most of all, the airport security checks.
It is perhaps fitting that Aldrin continues to explore, and not on land either, instead voyaging underwater with scuba gear. He counts Micronesia as one of his favorite places and has visited multiple times.
Read more: What does being weightless really feel like?
"I visited Pohnpei. I dove on Japanese war ships. And we recently dove in a further island, Palau. That was really good."
But the final frontier is still out there. Although Aldrin's mission for years has been for civilians to travel to the moon, his broader dream for space travel is for humans to land on Mars someday.
"I'm not trivializing Star Trek, because my hopes for the future is based on USS Enterprise, to boldly go where man's not been before," he says.
Part of complete coverage on
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 0339 GMT (1139 HKT)
Few airline routes are as cutthroat as the one between London and New York.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 1515 GMT (2315 HKT)
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, the old adage goes; Airbus unveils revamped A330 airliner.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Show us how you travel with twitpics and instagram via #howipack
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 0923 GMT (1723 HKT)
Could airlines drop fossil fuel in favor of cooking oil?
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
How do you kill time during flight delays?
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 0800 GMT (1600 HKT)
Fancy stripping off before a flight and getting sweaty with fellow passengers? Head to Helsinki.
June 19, 2014 -- Updated 0255 GMT (1055 HKT)
The skies are under threat. Not from terrorists or hardened criminals, but from everyday passengers who seem to go a little loco.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
A German entrepreneur claims to have found a way to buy 1 million air miles for as little as $6,500.
June 12, 2014 -- Updated 0213 GMT (1013 HKT)
These days, no fashion house portfolio is complete without a hotel -- or at the very least, a luxuriously designed suite.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
Is sky the limit for green aviation? Take our quiz and find out.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 0319 GMT (1119 HKT)
Some collect spoons from their travel, others collect a whole lot more.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
There is no shortage of adjectives one can apply to airline seats; no wonder that many carriers are looking to make a change.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 0558 GMT (1358 HKT)
Etihad Airways has unveiled new cabins that are more like suites complete with butler and chef.
Today's five most popular stories