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Apollo 11 astronauts to meet president, pitch Mars mission

The first astronauts to walk on the moon aren

This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows a close-up of the red planet Mars when it was closest to the Hubble Space Telescope - just 55 million miles (88 million kilometers) away taken with Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. Mars was closest to Earth on Dec. 18, at 11:45 p.m. Universal Time (6:45 p.m. EST). Mars and Earth have a "close encounter" about every 26 months. These periodic encounters are due to the differences in the two planets' orbits. The planet appears free of any dust storms during this closest approach, however, there are significant clouds visible in both the northern and southern polar cap regions. (AP Photo/NASA)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The first astronauts to walk on the moon aren't getting overly sentimental about the feat accomplished 40 years ago today. Instead, they're urging President Barack Obama to look to the future. And the future, they say, is Mars.

Buzz Aldrin says the best way to honor the Apollo astronauts is to follow in their footsteps, and "boldly go again on a new mission of exploration."

The Apollo 11 crew is due at the White House today to be honored by Obama on the 40th anniversary of their accomplishment.

In one of their few joint public appearances, the crew spoke yesterday at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum on the eve of the anniversary.

First man on the moon Neil Armstrong only discussed Apollo 11 for about 11 seconds.

Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins says the moon was not interesting, but Mars is.

Armstrong and Collins are seldom seen in public. But Aldrin, the lunar module pilot, is outspoken about his experience.

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