For now the U.S. is content to encourage privately funded space missions and international cooperation while a new Space Race may soon fill the vacuum left by a hobbled NASA. "Forty years ago the U.S. raced to plant the first foot on the moon. Now, as India, Russia, South Korea and China compete to return for further exploration, the U.S has all but dropped out -- and even Buzz Aldrin thinks that may be OK. Aldrin, speaking to, says the next step for NASA should be to create a long-term plan for more ambitious efforts -- visiting Mars or a nearby asteroid -- aided by robotics and astronauts from other countries. 'It's much better to take our experience and aid other countries in conducting their races,' says Aldrin. NASA had been betting on the Constellation program: the new Orion spacecraft, the Ares rocket and the Altair lunar lander. Testing has already started on Orion at the Plum Brook Station in Ohio. But work over the past 5 to 6 years has come to a standstill, and future space missions are uncertain following news that President Barack Obama is canceling Constellation."