Buzz Aldrin predicts Artemis program will leave decades-long legacy like Apollo

Pence, Buzz Aldrin talk about moon landings

NASA celebrates 50 years since the Apollo 11 moon landing; Mike Pence and Buzz Aldrin discuss the past and future of space exploration.

Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin — the second man to walk on the moon — predicted that President Trump's "Artemis" program would bring decades of progress like the United States saw with the Apollo program that launched him into space.

"The five decades of Apollo['s legacy] goes all the way from Apollo 1 through the successful landing, on up through Apollo 17 … and now we're going to begin the decades of Artemis," he said in a joint interview with Vice President Mike Pence.

The interview, which aired on Saturday's "America's News HQ," came as the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of Aldrin and Neil Armstrong making the first lunar landing on the Apollo 11 mission.

FOR MORE APOLLO 11 5OTH ANNIVERSARY COVERAGE CLICK HERE

After Armstrong and Aldrin set foot on the Moon on July 20, 1969, just 10 more NASA astronauts would follow in their footsteps by walking on the lunar surface. The most recent human to set foot on the Moon was Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan on Dec. 14, 1972.

Pence announced Saturday that the Orion space capsule was ready to take astronauts to the moon as part of the Artemis program. “The Orion crew capsule for the Artemis mission is complete and ready to begin preparations for its historic first mission,” he said.

During his interview with Aldrin, Pence expressed confidence that Trump would follow through with the program despite his stated frustration with NASA's decision to use the moon as a jumping-off point to get to Mars. The president instead wanted the agency to focus on just going to Mars.

"Yesterday in the Oval Office, President Trump did not seem entirely convinced that we should go to the moon first and not just go directly to Mars," Fox News' Kristin Fisher told him. "Are you sure that President Trump is on board with this plan?"

Pence laughed off the question, telling Fisher "you bet, 100 percent." He indicated that while Trump was "anxious" to get Americans on Mars, his administration understood the importance of traveling to the moon in order to develop the technologies needed for a longer trip to the red planet.

Fox News' James Rogers contributed to this report.

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