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Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr.; January 20, 1930) is an American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force pilot and astronaut who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history. On July 20, 1969, he was the second person to set foot on the Moon, following mission commander Neil Armstrong.
Life and career
Aldrin was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, to Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr., a career military man, and his wife Marion Moon. He is of Scottish, Swedish, and German ancestry. After graduating from Montclair High School in 1946, Aldrin turned down a full scholarship offer from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and instead went to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The nickname "Buzz" originated in childhood: the younger of his two elder sisters mispronounced "brother" as "buzzer", and this was shortened to Buzz. Aldrin made it his legal first name in 1988.
Col Aldrin as Commander, Air Force Test Pilot School
Aldrin graduated third in his class at West Point in 1951 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 66 combat missions in F-86 Sabres and shot down two Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 aircraft. The June 8, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine featured gun camera photos taken by Aldrin of one of the Russian pilots ejecting from his damaged aircraft.
After the war, Aldrin was assigned as an aerial gunnery instructor at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, and next was an aide to the dean of faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy (which had recently begun operations in 1955). He flew F-100 Super Sabres as a flight commander at Bitburg Air Base, Germany in the 22nd Fighter Squadron. Aldrin then earned his Sc.D. degree in Astronautics from MIT. His graduate thesis was Line-of-sight guidance techniques for manned orbital rendezvous. On completion of his doctorate, he was assigned to the Gemini Target Office of the Air Force Space Systems Division in Los Angeles, and finally to the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
Aldrin walks on the surface of the Moon during Apollo 11
Aldrin was selected as part of the third group of NASA astronauts in October 1963. After the deaths of the original Gemini 9 prime crew, Elliot See and Charles Bassett, Aldrin was promoted to back-up crew for the mission. The main objective of the revised mission (Gemini 9A) was to rendezvous and dock with a target vehicle, but when this failed, Aldrin improvised an effective exercise for the craft to rendezvous with a coordinate in space. He was confirmed as pilot on Gemini 12, the last Gemini mission and the last chance to prove methods for EVA. Aldrin set a record for extra-vehicular activity and proved that astronauts could work outside spacecraft.
Aldrin's lunar footprint in a photo taken by him on July 20, 1969
On July 20, 1969, he was the second astronaut to walk on the moon and the first to have also spacewalked, keeping his record total EVA time until that was surpassed on Apollo 14. There has been much speculation about Aldrin's desire at the time to be the first astronaut to walk on the moon. According to different NASA accounts, he had originally been proposed as the first to step onto the Moon's surface, but due to the physical positioning of the astronauts inside the compact Lunar Landing Module, it was easier for the commander, Neil Armstrong, to be the first to exit the spacecraft.
Aldrin is a Presbyterian. After landing on the moon, Aldrin radioed earth: "I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours, and to give thanks in his or her own way." He received Communion on the surface of the Moon, but kept it secret because of a lawsuit brought by atheist activist Madalyn Murray O'Hair over the reading of Genesis on Apollo 8. Aldrin, a church elder, used a pastor's home Communion kit given to him by Dean Woodruff and recited words used by his pastor at Webster Presbyterian Church. Webster Presbyterian Church, a local congregation in Webster, Texas (a Houston suburb near the Johnson Space Center) possesses the chalice used for communion on the moon, and commemorates the event annually on the Sunday closest to July 20.
Aldrin in Mission Control with NASA Spokesman Josh Byerly
and Flight Director Ron Spencer
In 1985, Aldrin proposed the existence of a special spacecraft trajectory now known as the Aldrin cycler. A spacecraft traveling on an Aldrin cycler trajectory would pass near the planets Earth and Mars on a regular (cyclic) basis. The Aldrin cycler is an example of a Mars cycler. He was also instrumental in the idea of training of astronauts underwater in order to better prepare them for the intricate space walks and duties of maintenance while in space.
In March 1972, Aldrin retired from active duty after 21 years of service, and returned to the Air Force in a managerial role, but his career was blighted by personal problems. His autobiographies Return To Earth, published in 1973, and Magnificent Desolation, published in June 2009, both provide accounts of his struggles with clinical depression and alcoholism in the years following his NASA career. His life improved considerably when he recognized and sought treatment for his problems, and with his marriage to Lois Aldrin. Since retiring from NASA, he has continued to promote space exploration, including producing a computer strategy game called Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space (1993). To further promote space exploration, and to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing, Buzz teamed up with Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Talib Kweli, and Soulja Boy to create the rap single and video, "Rocket Experience". Proceeds from video and song sales will benefit Buzz's non-profit foundation, ShareSpace.
He referred to a "Phobos monolith" in a July 22, 2009 interview with C-Span: "We should go boldly where man has not gone before. Fly by the comets, visit asteroids, visit the moon of Mars. There’s a monolith there. A very unusual structure on this potato shaped object that goes around Mars once in seven hours. When people find out about that they’re going to say ‘Who put that there? Who put that there?’ The universe put it there. If you choose, God put it there…” 
Buzz Aldrin, February 2009
Criticism of NASA
In December 2003, Aldrin published an article criticizing NASA's objectives in the New York Times. In it, he voiced concern about NASA's development of a spacecraft "limited to transporting four astronauts at a time with little or no cargo carrying capability" and declared the goal of sending astronauts back to the moon was "more like reaching for past glory than striving for new triumphs".
Aldrin has been married three times: to Joan Archer, with whom he had three children, James, Janice, and Andrew, to Beverly Zile, and to his current wife, Lois Driggs Cannon, whom he married on Valentine's Day, 1988. His battles against depression and alcoholism have been documented, most recently in his own memoir, "Magnificent Desolation." Aldrin is exclusively represented for his lecture appearances by the Harry Walker Agency. Aldrin is an active supporter of the Republican Party, headlining fundraisers for GOP members of Congress.
Dancing With the Stars
ABC announced that he would be a contestant on the 10th season of Dancing with the Stars and will be paired with Ashly DelGrosso. Aldrin will be the oldest contestant to appear on the show this season.
- Military decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, and three awards of the Air Medal.
- NASA decorations include the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and two awards of the NASA Space Flight Medal.
- Civilian awards and decorations include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Robert J. Collier Trophy, the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, and the Harmon International Trophy.
- The crater Aldrin on the Moon near the Apollo 11 landing site and Asteroid 6470 Aldrin are named in his honor.
- In 1967, Aldrin received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Gustavus Adolphus College.
- In 2001, President Bush appointed Aldrin to the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry.
- Aldrin received the 2003 Humanitarian Award from Variety, the Children's Charity, which, according to the organization, "is given to an individual who has shown unusual understanding, empathy, and devotion to mankind."
- Aldrin is on the National Space Society's Board of Governors, and has served as the organization's Chairman; an inductee of the Astronaut Hall of Fame; and a member of The Planetary Society, with Aldrin's pre-recorded voice appearing on nearly every episode of the Society's Planetary Radio.
- In 2006, the Space Foundation awarded Aldrin its highest honor, the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award, which is presented annually to recognize outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves through lifetime contributions to the welfare or betterment of humankind through the exploration, development and use of space, or the use of space technology, information, themes or resources in academic, cultural, industrial or other pursuits of broad benefit to humanity.
- For contributions to the television industry, Buzz Aldrin was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at Hollywood and Vine.
- Inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2007.
- In 2009, President Obama signed legislation conferring the Congressional Gold Medal upon Aldrin, his Apollo 11 crewmates, and John Glenn.
Pop culture and media
- Buzz Aldrin made a guest star appearance in an episode of animated sitcom The Simpsons entitled "Deep Space Homer," in which the main character, Homer Simpson, signs up to NASA as their first "Average Joe" astronaut. Aldrin displayed a good sense of humor about his status as second man on the moon. He proclaims "Second comes right after first!", while his introduction to Homer is met with absolute non-recognition.
- The British television comedy group Monty Python, on October 20, 1970, ran an episode called the "Buzz Aldrin Show" with a few references to him and his photo superimposed over the credits while "The Star-Spangled Banner" was played.
- Cliff Robertson played Aldrin in the 1976 TV-movie Return To Earth, based on the first of Aldrin's own two autobiographies, which described his struggles with clinical depression and alcoholism.
- In 1986, after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster killed its entire crew, he appeared in the Punky Brewster episode "Accidents Happen," as himself, to encourage a disheartened Punky to continue pursuing her dream of becoming an astronaut.
- Aldrin was portrayed by Larry Williams in the 1995 film Apollo 13.
- Aldrin appeared on an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! in November 1996.
- Aldrin played the role of Reverend Woodruff in the 1996 TV movie Apollo 11, while his own character was played by Xander Berkeley, who had previously played the small role of Henry Hurt in Apollo 13.
- The matter of who would make the first step on the moon was dramatized in the 1998 miniseries From The Earth To The Moon, based on Andrew Chaikin's book A Man On The Moon, in which Aldrin was portrayed by Bryan Cranston.
- The popular space ranger character Buzz Lightyear, from Pixar's Toy Story movie series, is named after him, largely due to the suggestion of the film's makers that he has "the coolest name of any astronaut." Aldrin acknowledged the tribute when he pulled a Buzz Lightyear doll out during a speech at NASA, to rapturous cheers; a clip of this can be found on the Toy Story 10th Anniversary DVD. He did not, however, receive any endorsement fees for the use of his first name.
- Aldrin voiced himself in a 1999 episode of Disney's Recess.
- Aldrin collaborated with science fiction author John Barnes to write Encounter With Tiber and The Return.
- He appeared in a 2003 interview with Ali G (actually Sacha Baron Cohen) in the British comedy series Ali G in da USA, during which Ali G referred to him as Buzz Lightyear and asked him if he thought man would ever walk on the sun.
- In 2005, Johan Harstad, a Norwegian author, wrote Buzz Aldrin, What Happened To You in All The Confusion? The main character of the book looks upon Buzz Aldrin as his role model.
- In a 2006 episode of NUMB3RS titled "Killer Chat," Aldrin plays himself and is seen at the end escorting Larry from the FBI headquarters on his way to his launch to the International Space Station.
- On December 26, 2006, UK TV channel Channel 4 transmitted a 50 minute opera by British composer Jonathan Dove called Man on the Moon, especially made for television. It tells the story of Aldrin's trip to the moon interleaved with the effects the experience had on him and his marriage. Aldrin was played by Nathan Gunn, and Joan Aldrin by Patricia Racette.
- In 2007, Aldrin participated in the book and documentary In the Shadow of the Moon.
- He plays himself in the 3-D animated film Fly Me To The Moon.
- The story of Apollo 11, through the eyes of Aldrin, was recently reimagined as a musical. 'Moon Landing' was written, composed and directed by Stephen Edwards, and performed at Derby Playhouse, and included inventive scenery, including a floating shuttle capsule.
- Aldrin is the model for the MTV Video Music Awards trophy known as the Moonman.
- Psychedelic rock band Bardo Pond released a track called Aldrin on their Lapsed LP.
- Aldrin was interviewed by Stephen Colbert on the July 31, 2008, episode of The Colbert Report, promoting the film Fly Me to the Moon.
- Aldrin is one of the astronauts featured in the book and documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, and the documentary "The Wonder of it All."
- In 2009 Buzz recorded a rap song called "The Rocket Experience". A making of video shows him working with Talib Kweli and Snoop Dogg. Others include Quincy Jones and Soulja Boy.
- In the 2009 TV movie Moonshot, he was played by James Marsters.
- On November 17, 2009, Buzz appeared on The Price Is Right in a space-themed Showcase to promote his new book (which was also included in the Showcase, as a bonus).
In 2005, while being interviewed for a documentary titled First on the Moon: The Untold Story, Aldrin told an interviewer that they saw an unidentified flying object. Aldrin told David Morrison, an NAI Senior Scientist, that the documentary cut the crew's conclusion that they were probably seeing one of four detached spacecraft adapter panels. Their S-IVB upper stage was 6,000 miles away, but the panels were jettisoned before the S-IVB made its separation maneuver so they would closely follow the Apollo 11 spacecraft until its first midcourse correction. When Aldrin appeared on The Howard Stern Show on August 15, 2007, Stern asked him about the supposed UFO sighting. Aldrin confirmed that there was no such sighting of anything deemed extraterrestrial, and said they were and are "99.9 percent" sure that the object was the detached panel.
Interviewed by the Science Channel, Aldrin mentioned seeing unidentified objects, and he claims his words were taken out of context; he asked the Science Channel to clarify to viewers he did not see alien spacecraft, but they refused.
On September 9, 2002, filmmaker Bart Sibrel, a proponent of the Apollo moon landing hoax theory, confronted Aldrin and his stepdaughter outside a Beverly Hills, California hotel. Sibrel said "You're the one who said you walked on the moon, when you didn't" and called Aldrin "a coward, and a liar, and a thief." Aldrin punched Sibrel in the face. Beverly Hills police and the city's prosecutor declined to file charges after witnesses confirmed that Sibrel had initiated physical contact. Sibrel suffered no serious injuries.
- ^ Staff. "To the moon and beyond", The Record (Bergen County), July 20, 2009. Accessed July 20, 2009. The source is indicative of the confusion regarding his birthplace. He is described in the article's first paragraph as having been "born and raised in Montclair", while a more detailed second paragraph on "The Early Years" states that he was "born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. on January 20, 1930, in the Glen Ridge wing of Montclair Hospital".
- ^ Hansen, James R. (2005). First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong. Simon & Schuster. p. 348. "His birth certificate lists Glen Ridge as his birthplace."
- ^ BuzzAldrin.com - About Buzz Aldrin
- ^ a b Solomon, Deborah; Oth, Christian (June 15, 2009 and June 21, 2009). "Questions for Buzz Aldrin: The Man on the Moon". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/magazine/21fob-q4-t.html?_r=1&ref=space. Retrieved 2009-06-24. Note: nytimes.com print-view software lists the article date as June 21, 2009; main article webpage shows June 15.
- ^ From The Dollar To The Moon
- ^ "Brigitte Wambsganß, “Buzz Aldrin: Mond-Mann mit Trupbacher Wurzeln,” Der Westen (Germany), July 17, 2009."
- ^ RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Marc Wheat Database
- ^ "AdirondackDailyEnterprise.com Archives" (). http://news.nnyln.net/adirondack-enterprise/1969/adirondack-enterprise-1969-july%20-%200064.pdf.
- ^ a b "BuzzAldrin.com - About Buzz Aldrin: FAQ". http://www.buzzaldrin.com/faq/. Retrieved 2008-06-09.
- ^ "Buzz Aldrin Quick Facts - Quick Facts - MSN Encarta". Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. http://www.webcitation.org/5kwQVaso5.
- ^ Life Magazine June 8, 1953.p.29
- ^ Expeditions to the Moon, chapter 8, p. 7.
- ^ Chaikin, Andrew. A Man On The Moon. p 204
- ^ ("First on the Moon — A Voyage with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Edwin E. Aldrin Jr", written with Gene Farmer and Dora Jane Hamblin, epilogue by Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Joseph Ltd, London (1970), page 251).
- ^ Hillner, Jennifer (2007-01-24). "Sundance 2007: Buzz Aldrin Speaks". Table of Malcontents - Wired Blogs (Wired). http://blog.wired.com/tableofmalcontents/2007/01/sundance_2007_b_1.html. Retrieved 2007-05-07.
- ^ "Webster Presbyterian Church History". http://www.websterpresby.org/history.asp. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
- ^ Aldrin, E. E., "Cyclic Trajectory Concepts," SAIC presentation to the Interplanetary Rapid Transit Study Meeting, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, October 1985.
- ^ Byrnes, D. V., Longuski, J. M., and Aldrin, B.,"Cycler Orbit Between Earth and Mars," Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 30, No. 3, May-June 1993, pp. 334-336.
- ^ Aldrin, Buzz (2009). Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon. Harmony.
- ^ Buzz Aldrin and Snoop Dogg reach for the stars with Rocket Experience, Times Online, June 25, 2009
- ^ "Buzz Aldrin Reveals Existence of Monolith on Mars Moon". C-Span. July 22, 2009. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDIXvpjnRws&eurl=http%3A%2F%2F.
- ^ Aldrin, Buzz (2003-12-05). "Fly Me To L1". The New York Times. http://buzzaldrin.com/files/2003.12.5.NY%20TIMES.Fly%20Me%20to%20L%201.By%20Buzz%20Aldrin.pdf. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
- ^ After walking on moon, astronauts trod various paths - CNN.com
- ^ Read, Kimberly (2005-01-04). "Buzz Aldrin". About.com. http://bipolar.about.com/od/businessmenpoliticians/p/buzzaldrin.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- ^ Harry Walker Agency Speakers Bureau
- ^ http://combatveteransforcongress.org/sites/default/files/2-26-10-invite.pdf
- ^ "Astronaut Buzz Aldrin to dance with a different kind of star". Mother Nature Network. 2010-03-02. http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/ecollywood/stories/astronaut-buzz-aldrin-to-dance-with-a-different-kind-of-star. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- ^ "Discovery Circumstances: Numbered Minor Planets (5001)-(10000): 6470 Aldrin". IAU: Minor Planet Center. http://scully.cfa.harvard.edu/~cgi/ShowCitation.COM?num=6470. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
- ^ Personnel Announcements - August 22, 2001 White House Press Release naming the Presidential Appointees for the commission.
- ^  - This sources states he was appointed in 2002, although according to the August 22, 2001 Press Release, it was 2001.
- ^ "Variety International Humanitarian Awards". Variety, the Children's Charity. http://www.varietychildrenscharity.org/about_variety/humanitarian_awards.php. Retrieved 2007-05-07.
- ^ Symposium Awards | National Space Symposium
- ^ Aldrin "Hollywood Walk of Fame database". HWOF.com. http://www.hwof.com/stars?recipient=Buzz Aldrin.
- ^ Buzz Aldrin's Rocket Experience from Buzz Aldrin and FOD Team - Video
- ^ Making of Buzz Aldrin's Rocket Experience w/ Snoop Dogg and Talib Kweli from Buzz Aldrin, FOD Team, Ryan Perez, and Snoop Dogg - Video
- ^ "Apollo 11 Mission Op Report" (PDF). http://history.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/A11_MissionOpReport.pdf.
- ^ "NASA Ask an Astrobiologist". http://nai.arc.nasa.gov/astrobio/astrobio_detail.cfm?ID=1568.
- ^ "Site containing a transcript of the UFO segment of the Untold Story documentary". http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case592.htm.
- ^ "A link to The Science Channel scheduling info for cited documentary containing Aldrin's UFO comments". http://science.discovery.com/tvlistings/episode.jsp?episode=0&cpi=115678&gid=0&channel=SCI.
- ^ Morrison, David (2009). "UFOs and Aliens in Space". Skeptical Inquirer 33 (1): 30–31.
- ^ Schwartz, John (2009-07-13). "Vocal Minority Insists It Was All Smoke and Mirrors". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/14/science/space/14hoax.html. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- ^ "Ex-astronaut escapes assault charge". BBC News. 2002-09-21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2272321.stm. Retrieved 2008-09-03.
|People who have walked on the Moon
Neil Armstrong (CDR, Apollo 11) · Buzz Aldrin (LMP, Apollo 11) · Pete Conrad (CDR, Apollo 12) · Alan Bean (LMP, Apollo 12) · Alan Shepard (CDR, Apollo 14) · Edgar Mitchell (LMP, Apollo 14) · David Scott (CDR, Apollo 15) · James Irwin (LMP, Apollo 15) · John Young (CDR, Apollo 16) · Charles Duke (LMP, Apollo 16) · Eugene Cernan (CDR, Apollo 17) · Harrison Schmitt (LMP, Apollo 17)