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EarthSky: Buzz Aldrin, 40 Years Later, Explains Why Humanity Walked on the Moon
Posted By Editor On July 23, 2009 @ 9:50 am In Area News | Comments Disabled
Forty years ago, on July 20, 1969, NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first-ever human steps on the moon. EarthSky asked astronaut Buzz Aldrin what he remembers most about it.
Buzz Aldrin: “The entire experience was the culmination of just a very fortunate set of circumstances that opened up for us, plus seven plus nine plus 14 in our third group of astronauts, 30 people were destined to be among those selected to maybe make the first landing on the moon.“
An estimated 500 million people on television and more on radio tuned in for live broadcasts of Armstrong and Aldrin from the moon. Today, Aldrin urges the U.S. to help other nations like China, India, South Korea, and Brazil to reach the moon, and for the U.S. to send its astronauts to Mars.
Buzz Aldrin: “What we challenged ourselves to do in a confrontational situation of the ’60s and ’70s, in expanding the horizons of human exploration, we can challenge ourselves to do during this period of brief recession, discouragement, as a nation and as a world. We can challenge ourselves to do great things again by joining forces, cooperatively, with patience and perseverance, by setting our objectives high and helping other people to join us in the quest for human expansion of our thinking, of our capabilities.”
Astronaut Aldrin talked more about his path to the moon.
Buzz Aldrin: “What a wonderful opportunity that came along. And the program just proceeded so well overcoming little setbacks, the tragedy of the Apollo fire, loss of a few astronauts, aircraft accidents. But we were really responsive, went to the moon on Apollo 8 without a lander, pioneering December, 1968 really sparking a positive event during that turbulent year, setting the stage. Neal and I were in the backup crew for that great mission. And three missions later we’re on the primary crew to make the first attempt at landing on the moon.”
Aldrin told EarthSky of his vision for the future of space exploration.
Buzz Aldrin: “I think that we need to develop the tools to develop what we have explored and to help other nations to participate in cooperative endeavors, not just the space station that the United States invested significantly in, but to use that to prepare for things that we haven’t done yet, and to go places that we haven’t been, while we help international, cooperative space station efforts expanded with other nations.”
He also spoke about the possibility of a human settlement on Mars in the future.
Buzz Aldrin: “We could put our exploration modules by 2022 perhaps on the moon Phobos of the planet Mars. We could put that exploration module there landing, and enhance it in an unmanned capacity so we could visit it in 2025 or so for visits that will help us prepare the Martian surface for the arrival of settlers sometime in the early 2030s. It’s a little more than two decades away, and I think that’s a very rewarding gradual commitment of our resources.”
Aldrin also talked about his latest efforts to reach new ears, through collaborating on a rap video with Snoop Dogg and Talib Kweli.
Buzz Aldrin: “What that was like was a tremendously new and different opportunity to communicate with a generation that is significantly different than the generation that grew up to support the great Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. The people of the new generation who are into rap music and communication by text messages and twittering, this is the generation of the expansion of information sharing and worldwide methods, and it was just a wonderful experience to share the ‘rocket experience’ rap music with Snoop Dogg and Kweli, and to discuss and get their benefits and their pointers on how I can improve my methods in communicating in these modern ways. “
Our thanks to Buzz Aldrin.
More online at EarthSky.org.
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed their lunar module on the Sea of Tranquility and became the first humans to walk on the moon. Aldrin has since been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and more than fifty other awards and medals from the United States and other countries. He holds a doctorate in astronautics from MIT. Since retiring from the U.S. Air Force and NASA, Dr. Aldrin has remained at the forefront of efforts to ensure a continued leading role for America in manned space exploration. He founded a rocket design company, Starcraft Boosters, Inc., and the ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to opening the doors to space tourism for all people.
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