News / Science & Technology

    Apollo Astronaut 'Buzz' Aldrin Talks Moon, Mars on Reddit

    In photo taken by astronaut Neil Armstrong with a 70mm lunar surface camera, Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module "Eagle," Apollo 11 mission, July 1969.
    In photo taken by astronaut Neil Armstrong with a 70mm lunar surface camera, Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module "Eagle," Apollo 11 mission, July 1969.

    Related Articles

    Human Space Program Review Recommends US Focus on Mars

    National Research Council report, commissioned by NASA, recommends a stepping-stone approach toward Mars

    NASA: Test of New Mars Landing Craft a Success

    Despite parachute's failure to open fully, NASA says new vehicle may be used in future manned mission to red planet

    NASA: Titan's Ocean Likely 'as Salty as Dead Sea'

    Discovery by US space agency researchers makes it less likely Saturn's moon harbors life as we know it
    VOA News

    Famed Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin’s name was the result of his older sister calling him “buzzard” because she couldn’t say “brother” when he was an infant.

    That, along with a host of other personal facts about the second man to set foot on the moon, was revealed during an online chat with users on reddit.com.

    July 20 is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and Aldrin, 84, took to the Web to say he wanted to be named a “designated lunar ambassador” along with all the other Apollo astronauts who reached the moon.

    Aldrin was one of three members of the mission to the Moon, along with Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins. Armstrong, who died in 2012, preceded Aldrin in setting foot on the lunar surface, making his legendary utterance: “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”

    Asked if one could experience anything like the Moon on Earth, Aldrin said “there is no place on earth as desolate as what I was viewing in those first moments on the Lunar Surface,” adding that the desolation was “magnificent.”

    He was also asked what went through his mind when he looked back at Earth from the lunar surface.

    "Where are the billions and billions and billions of people, on what I'm looking at? We're the only 3 that are not back there,” he wrote. “And we didn't get to celebrate [the landing]. Because we were out of town.”

    His most frightening moment came with the lunar lander was rendezvousing with the command capsule after the landing. As the two craft approached each other, Aldrin decided “on the spur of the moment” to change the docking procedure because he thought he had a better way.

    Just a few feet from docking, the lunar lander lost primary thrusters and the primary guidance used to control the spacecraft. The crew was able to recover using the abort guidance system, Aldrin said.

    “That was my mistake,” he said. “I suggested to my commander that we do it differently, and it was his mistake to assume that I knew what I was talking about. So we both made mistakes — brought about by me!”

    Looking into the future, Aldrin said he thought the “next monumental achievement of humanity will be the first landing by an Earthling, a human being, on the planet Mars.”

    He added that he thought that within two decades, the U.S. would lead an international presence on Mars.

    Aldrin reiterated his somewhat controversial stance that any manned mission to Mars should not come back to Earth, but rather stay on the Red Planet as the start of a permanent presence. When asked what he would say to a prospective crew heading to Mars for the first time, Aldrin urged the crew to “have fun!”

    “Realize that you are perhaps the most ambitious, the most historical pioneers that the earth has produced since its beginning,” he wrote. “And you are given a great honor in spending the rest of your lives pioneering for mankind.”

    On a lighter note, Aldrin was asked if he’d been tempted to lay down on the lunar surface and make snow angels.

    “That was not at all tempting,” he said. “I wanted my white spacesuit to remain as clean as possible!”

    Aldrin also announced the creation of a social media campaign to celebrate the 45th anniversary, which includes a YouTube channel where people can share their memories of the day when he and Armstrong walked on the moon.

    Collins, 83, is believed to be living in Florida, largely avoiding publicity.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora