Retired American astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who followed Neil Armstrong onto the Moon on the Apollo 11 mission, said during an appearance at Campus Party Mexico that international cooperation was essential for exploring Mars.

A Mars mission requires "exploring like we did 44 years ago, but you need public support and the cooperation" of private and independent organizations, Aldrin told participants at the Mexico City tech event on Wednesday.

The coming generations will also have to develop an interest in science, technology and mathematics, Aldrin, a former U.S. Air Force officer who holds a doctorate in astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said.

Mars should be "our next destination," the former NASA astronaut and lunar module pilot on the July 16-24, 1969, Apollo 11 mission, said.

Apollo 11's success was the product of teamwork and innovation, Aldrin said.

"Neil was the first man to set foot on the Moon because he was the mission commander or because he was the closest one to the hatch," Aldrin said.

The descent to the Moon's surface was the "most complicated" part of the mission because the crew realized they only had 18 seconds of fuel left, the retired astronaut said.

Buzz Aldrin, who was the inspiration for one of the main characters in the "Toy Story" movies, said he experienced severe depression after the mission, began drinking and got divorced.

"It took me a while to recover," Aldrin, who just published "Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration," said.

The retired astronaut said he had been working on several projects, including "Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager," a videogame due out in the fall.

"I never know where I'm going to be, if I have nothing better to do, I'd like to drive a Hummer on the South Pole," the 83-year-old Aldrin said. EFE