Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the Moon, will lead a new research institute set up at the Florida Institute of Technology to help take humanity to Mars.
The goal of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute will be to establish a permanent settlement on Mars around 2040.
The 85-year old astronaut - who together with Neil Armstrong in 1969 broke new frontiers for humanity in the historic Apollo 11 moon landing - has been known as a strong proponent of Mars colonisation and exploration.
Aldrin said that through the institute he hopes "to become much more involved in the operations and the guidance" of the US space programme courtesy of closer cooperation with Nasa and the support of international cooperation.
Aldrin has already relocated with his partner to Florida’s Satellite Beach from California, where he will serve as the research organisation's senior advisor. Aldrin also joins Florida Tech's faculty as a research professor of aeronautics, but will not be teaching in the role, according to university president Anthony Catanese.
Officially launched today, the institute will open for business this autumn. As part of the roadmap to Mars, the institute will support commercial and international developments, including establishing a settlement on the Moon, visiting asteroids and the Martian moon Phobos.