by Buzz Aldrin (Testimony in strong support of SB 930, SB 1256, and HB 1419)
To the Members of the 27th Hawaii State Legislature:
I am pleased to offer my strong endorsement of Hawaii State Bills – SB930, SB1256 and HB1419 to provide continued support for the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES).
I had the pleasure of attending the excellent PISCES 2012 Conference on the Big Island in November, and was very impressed with the potential contribution that this unique asset represents for Hawaii, the United States, and the international space community, in helping humanity prepare for our next bold frontier — the sustainable exploration, commercial development, and settlement of space. I commend this Legislative Body for their vision and commitment to support this important effort – an investment that I feel confident will be returned many fold to the great State of Hawaii.
From my own personal experience in preparing for our historic Apollo XI mission to the Moon, the ability to conduct high-fidelity simulation and training in a highly relevant environment proved to be critical to the success of our mission. Hawaii is blessed to have a landscape on the Big Island that provides an excellent analog for the lunar surface, which will enable PISCES to play a leading role in collaboration with multiple space agencies, commercial space companies, and academic institutions toward the development, testing and validation of key the technologies, systems and processes that will not only advance both robotic and human missions beyond low-Earth orbit, but also spin off commercially viable processes and technologies that will dramatically enhance economic enterprise and prosperity in Hawaii.
In addition to expanding commerce on the Big Island, this enterprise will also create the need for a highly-skilled technical workforce to support this work, while simultaneously inspiring student interest in, and pursuit of, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (the “STEM” disciplines).
It is my view that future journeys into space can and will begin here in Hawaii – with innovators, scientists, technologist, and explorers from across the world conducting vital research at PISCES on the Big Island. These experiments will subsequently be operated tele-robotically from other sites around our planet to simulate the control of lunar robots on the surface of the Moon from stable orbits near our natural satellite – thus reducing the time delays associated with attempting to conduct these operations from Earth.
I expect that ultimately, this approach will enable space commerce on the surface of the Moon on a scale that we have yet to anticipate, and that PISCES will continue to serve as the premier Earth-based proving grounds for these systems
for the foreseeable future.
As you may be aware, my personal long term goal for humanity is a permanent international settlement of Mars, and I believe that the best way to accomplish this will be to replicate the process we will use to achieve the vision noted above on the Moon, by exploiting the moons of Mars to conduct similar, nearly real-time tele-robotic operations on the surface of Mars.
Having led a major effort toward the development of these remarkable systems for robotic commercial lunar operations, PISCES will again be able to play a most significant and critical role in validating more advanced capabilities to conduct these operations on Mars, thus paving the way for permanent human settlement of this planet.
This approach would afford PISCES several decades of continuing pioneering research on the Big Island, and bring long-term development and prosperity to this region, and indeed to all islands of Hawaii.
By supporting PISCES through the legislation before you today, you will affirm that Hawaii can be a leader in the international exploration and development of space, which will afford exceptional economic and societal returns to humanity on Earth, as well as to this great State, and that will enhance economic prosperity and wellbeing for generations to come.
I again would, strongly encourage your continued leadership in supporting PISCES – a timely and vitally important asset for not only your State, but also the international space community.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify on this measure.