Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin

Overview
Buzz Aldrin is an American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 pilot and astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

 who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

, the first manned lunar landing in history. On July 20, 1969, he was the second human being to set foot on the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

, following mission commander Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong
Neil Alden Armstrong is an American former astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon....

.

Aldrin was born in Glen Ridge
Glen Ridge, New Jersey
Glen Ridge is a borough in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 7,527. In 2010, Glen Ridge was ranked as the 38th Best Place to live by New Jersey Monthly magazine....

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, to Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr., a career military man, and his wife Marion (née Moon). He is of Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

, Swedish, and German ancestry.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Buzz Aldrin'
Start a new discussion about 'Buzz Aldrin'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Quotations

Give us a reading on the 1202 program alarm.

During the Apollo 11 Eagle's descent.

Magnificent desolation.

Words said when he first stepped onto the moon.

There was something out there, close enough to be observed, and what could it be?

About what Aldrin believes to be an encounter with a UFO

Mars is there, waiting to be reached.

I think humans will reach Mars, and I would like to see it happen in my lifetime.

Encyclopedia
Buzz Aldrin is an American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 pilot and astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

 who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

, the first manned lunar landing in history. On July 20, 1969, he was the second human being to set foot on the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

, following mission commander Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong
Neil Alden Armstrong is an American former astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon....

.

Early life


Aldrin was born in Glen Ridge
Glen Ridge, New Jersey
Glen Ridge is a borough in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 7,527. In 2010, Glen Ridge was ranked as the 38th Best Place to live by New Jersey Monthly magazine....

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, to Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr., a career military man, and his wife Marion (née Moon). He is of Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

, 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
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

, and went to the U.S. Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 at West Point
West Point, New York
West Point is a federal military reservation established by President of the United States Thomas Jefferson in 1802. It is a census-designated place located in Town of Highlands in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 7,138 at the 2000 census...

. 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.

Military career


Aldrin graduated third in his class at West Point in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 in mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 and served as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. He flew 66 combat missions in F-86 Sabre
F-86 Sabre
The North American F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as America's first swept wing fighter which could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War...

s and shot down two Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was a jet fighter developed for the USSR by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. The MiG-15 was one of the first successful swept-wing jet fighters, and it achieved fame in the skies over Korea, where early in the war, it outclassed all straight-winged enemy fighters in...

 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
Air gunner
An air gunner a.k.a. aerial gunner is a member of an air force aircrew who operates flexible-mount or turret-mounted machine guns or autocannons in an aircraft...

 instructor at Nellis Air Force Base
Nellis Air Force Base
Nellis Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Base, located approximately northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is under the jurisdiction of Air Combat Command .-Overview:...

 in Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, and next was an aide to the dean of faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy
United States Air Force Academy
The United States Air Force Academy is an accredited college for the undergraduate education of officer candidates for the United States Air Force. Its campus is located immediately north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States...

 (which had recently begun operations in 1955). He flew F-100 Super Sabre
F-100 Super Sabre
The North American F-100 Super Sabre was a supersonic jet fighter aircraft that served with the United States Air Force from 1954 to 1971 and with the Air National Guard until 1979. The first of the Century Series collection of USAF jet fighters, it was the first USAF fighter capable of...

s as a flight commander at Bitburg Air Base
Bitburg Air Base
Bitburg Airport is a commercial airport serving Bitburg, a city in the Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany. It is located 2 miles southeast of Bitburg, 20 miles north of Trier, and 135 miles west of Wiesbaden....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in the 22nd Fighter Squadron. Aldrin then earned his Doctor of Science
Doctor of Science
Doctor of Science , usually abbreviated Sc.D., D.Sc., S.D. or Dr.Sc., is an academic research degree awarded in a number of countries throughout the world. In some countries Doctor of Science is the name used for the standard doctorate in the sciences, elsewhere the Sc.D...

 in astronautics
Astronautics
Astronautics, and related astronautical engineering, is the theory and practice of navigation beyond the Earth's atmosphere. In other words, it is the science and technology of space flight....

 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

. His graduate thesis
Thesis
A dissertation or thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings...

 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
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

 before his selection as an astronaut.

NASA career



Aldrin was selected as part of the third group
Astronaut Group 3
Astronaut Group 3 was the third group of astronauts selected by NASA. Their selection was announced in October 1963. Fourteen astronauts made up Group 3. Four died in training accidents before they could fly in space. All of the surviving ten flew in the Apollo program; five also flew Gemini...

 of NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 astronauts in October 1963. Test pilot experience was no longer a requirement, so this was the first selection that he was eligible for. After the deaths of the original Gemini 9 prime crew, Elliot See and Charles Bassett
Charles Bassett
Charles Arthur "Art" Bassett, II was an American engineer and United States Air Force officer. He was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1963 and assigned to Gemini 9 but died in an airplane crash during training for his first spaceflight.-Early life and education:Bassett was born in Dayton, Ohio,...

, Aldrin was promoted with Jim Lovell
Jim Lovell
James "Jim" Arthur Lovell, Jr., is a former NASA astronaut and a retired captain in the United States Navy, most famous as the commander of the Apollo 13 mission, which suffered a critical failure en route to the Moon but was brought back safely to Earth by the efforts of the crew and mission...

 to back-up crew for the mission. The main objective of the revised mission (Gemini 9A
Gemini 9A
- Backup crew :- Original primary crew :- Mission parameters :* Mass: * Perigee: * Apogee: * Inclination: 28.91°* Period: 88.78 min- 1st rendezvous :* June 3, 1966 - 17:45 - 18:00 UTC- Spacewalk :* Cernan...

) 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
Gemini 12
-Backup crew:-Mission parameters:*Mass: *Perigee: *Apogee: *Inclination: 28.87°*Period: 88.87 min-Docking:*Docked: November 12, 1966 - 01:06:00 UTC*Undocked: November 13, 1966 - 20:18:00 UTC-Space walk:...

, the last Gemini mission and the last chance to prove methods for EVA
Extra-vehicular activity
Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

. Aldrin set a record for extra-vehicular activity and proved that astronauts could work outside spacecraft.


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
Apollo 14
Apollo 14 was the eighth manned mission in the American Apollo program, and the third to land on the Moon. It was the last of the "H missions", targeted landings with two-day stays on the Moon with two lunar EVAs, or moonwalks....

. 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. There was also a desire on NASA's part for the first person to step onto the Moon's surface be a civilian, which Armstrong was.

Buzz Aldrin was the first person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon. Aldrin is, as he was, 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 gave himself Communion
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 on the surface of the Moon, but he kept it secret because of a lawsuit brought by atheist activist Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Madalyn Murray O'Hair was an American atheist activist and founder of the organization American Atheists and its president from 1963 to 1986. One of her sons, Jon Garth Murray, was the president of the organization from 1986 to 1995, while she remained de facto president during these nine years....

 over the reading of Genesis
Apollo 8 Genesis Reading
On December 24, 1968, in what was the most watched television broadcast at the time, the crew of Apollo 8 read in turn from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the moon...

 on Apollo 8
Apollo 8
Apollo 8, the second manned mission in the American Apollo space program, was the first human spaceflight to leave Earth orbit; the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body; and the first crewed voyage to return to Earth from another celestial...

. 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
Webster, Texas
Webster is a city in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area. The population was 9,083 at the 2000 census.-History:...

, (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, a Freemason, also carried to the Moon a special deputization from Grand Master J. Guy Smith, with which to claim Masonic territorial jurisdiction over the Moon on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Texas.

Retirement


After leaving NASA, Aldrin was assigned as the Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School
U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School
The U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School is the Air Force's very advanced flight training school that trains experimental test pilots, flight test engineers, and flight test navigators to carry out tests and evaluations of new aerospace weapon systems and also other aircraft of the U.S. Air Force...

 at Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located on the border of Kern County, Los Angeles County, and San Bernardino County, California, in the Antelope Valley. It is southwest of the central business district of North Edwards, California and due east of Rosamond.It is named in...

, California. In March 1972, Aldrin retired from active duty after 21 years of service, and returned to the Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 in a managerial role, but his career was blighted by personal problems. His autobiographies Return To Earth, published in 1973, and Magnificent Desolation
Magnificent Desolation (book)
Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon is the second of two autobiographical books written by Buzz Aldrin, former Apollo 11 astronaut, which author Ken Abraham transcribed for him, and which Crown Publishing Group published in June 2009...

,
published in June 2009, both provide accounts of his struggles with clinical depression
Clinical depression
Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities...

 and alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 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
Buzz Aldrin's Race into Space
Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space, frequently abbreviated BARIS, is a space simulation and strategy game for MS-DOS. The player takes the role of Administrator of NASA or head of the Soviet space program with the ultimate goal of being the first side to conduct a successful manned moon landing...

(1993). To further promote space exploration, and to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing, Buzz teamed up with Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg
Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. , better known by his stage name Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. Snoop is best known as a rapper in the West Coast hip hop scene, and for being one of Dr. Dre's most notable protégés. Snoop Dogg was a Crip gang member while in high school...

, Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
Quincy Delightt Jones, Jr. is an American record producer and musician. A conductor, musical arranger, film composer, television producer, and trumpeter. His career spans five decades in the entertainment industry and a record 79 Grammy Award nominations, 27 Grammys, including a Grammy Legend...

, Talib Kweli
Talib Kweli
Talib Kweli Greene , better known as Talib Kweli, is an American hip-hop artist and poet from Brooklyn, New York. His first name in Arabic means "student" or "seeker" ; his in Swahili means "true"...

, and Soulja Boy
Soulja Boy
DeAndre Cortez Way , better known by his stage name Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, or simply Soulja Boy, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, entrepreneur, and internet personality....

 to create the rap single and video, "Rocket Experience". Proceeds from video and song sales will benefit Buzz's non-profit foundation, ShareSpace. In 1995, he made a featured appearance in the Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston was an American actor of film, theatre and television. Heston is known for heroic roles in films such as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, El Cid, and Planet of the Apes...

, Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney is an American film actor and entertainer whose film, television, and stage appearances span nearly his entire lifetime. He has won multiple awards, including an Honorary Academy Award, a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award...

, Deborah Winters
Deborah Winters
Deborah Winters is an American actress and businesswoman. Winters is probably most remembered for her roles in Kotch, The People Next Door, Class of '44, and The Winds of War...

 film America: A Call to Greatness
America: A Call to Greatness
America: A Call to Greatness is a 1995 docudrama feature from Paige-Brace Cinema, chronicling United States history from its inception through the 20th century. It stars Charlton Heston, Mickey Rooney, Deborah Winters, Peter Graves, Jane Russell, and Rita Moreno among others and was written,...

, directed by Warren Chaney
Warren Chaney
Warren Herbert Chaney, Ph.D. is an American executive, author, filmmaker, behavioral scientist, entertainer, businessman and a pioneer in early television. In a career spanning four decades, Chaney wrote fifteen books, fourteen screenplays, and seventy-eight professional and nonprofessional...

.

He referred to a "Phobos monolith
Phobos monolith
The Phobos monolith is a surface feature on the moon Phobos, which orbits Mars. A monolith is a geological feature consisting of a single massive piece of rock. Monoliths also occur naturally on Earth, but it has been suggested that the Phobos monolith may be a piece of impact ejecta...

" in a July 22, 2009, interview with C-Span
C-SPAN
C-SPAN , an acronym for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, is an American cable television network that offers coverage of federal government proceedings and other public affairs programming via its three television channels , one radio station and a group of websites that provide streaming...

: "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…"

Aldrin Cycler


In 1985, Aldrin proposed the existence of a special spacecraft trajectory
Trajectory
A trajectory is the path that a moving object follows through space as a function of time. The object might be a projectile or a satellite, for example. It thus includes the meaning of orbit—the path of a planet, an asteroid or a comet as it travels around a central mass...

 now known as the Aldrin cycler. A spacecraft traveling on an Aldrin cycler trajectory would pass near the planets Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 and Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 on a regular (cyclic) basis. The Aldrin cycler is an example of a Mars cycler
Mars cycler
A Mars cycler is a special kind of spacecraft trajectory that encounters Earth and Mars on a regular basis. The term Mars cycler may also refer to a spacecraft on a Mars cycler trajectory...

. 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.

Criticism of NASA


In December 2003, Aldrin published in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

an article criticizing NASA's objectives'. In it, he voiced concern about NASA's development of a spacecraft
Orion (spacecraft)
Orion is a spacecraft designed by Lockheed Martin for NASA, the space agency of the United States. Orion development began in 2005 as part of the Constellation program, where Orion would fulfill the function of a Crew Exploration Vehicle....

 "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".

Skepticism of anthropogenic global warming


In 2009, Aldrin said he did not believe humans were causing current climate change: "I think the climate has been changing for billions of years. If it's warming now, it may cool off later. I'm not in favor of just taking short-term isolated situations and depleting our resources to keep our climate just the way it is today. I'm not necessarily of the school that we are causing it all, I think the world is causing it."

Books


Books co-authored by Aldrin include Return to Earth (1973), Men From Earth (1989) and Magnificent Desolation (2009). He has also co-authored with John Barnes
John Barnes (author)
-Writing:Two of his novels, The Sky So Big and Black and The Duke of Uranium have been reviewed as having content appropriate for a young adult readership, comparing favorably to Robert A. Heinlein's "juvenile" novels...

 the science fiction novels Encounter with Tiber
Encounter With Tiber
Encounter With Tiber is a 1996 science fiction novel written by former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and science fiction writer John Barnes...

(1996) and The Return (2000).

Personal life


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. He filed for divorce from Lois on June 15, 2011, in Los Angeles, citing “irreconcilable differences,” according to his attorney, one day after the couple separated.

His battles against depression and alcoholism have been documented, most recently in Magnificent Desolation. Aldrin is an active supporter of the Republican Party, headlining fundraisers for GOP members of Congress. In 2007, Aldrin confirmed to Time magazine that he had recently had a face-lift; he joked that the G-forces he was exposed to in space "caused a sagging jowl that needed some attention."

Honors


  • Military decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
    Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
    The Air Force Distinguished Service Medal was created by an act of the United States Congress on July 6, 1960. The medal was intended as a new decoration of the United States Air Force to replace the policy of awarding the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Air Force personnel.The Air Force...

    , the Legion of Merit
    Legion of Merit
    The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

    , two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross
    Distinguished Flying Cross (United States)
    The Distinguished Flying Cross is a medal awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself or herself in support of operations by "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, subsequent to November 11, 1918." The...

    , and three awards of the Air Medal
    Air Medal
    The Air Medal is a military decoration of the United States. The award was created in 1942, and is awarded for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.-Criteria:...

    .
  • NASA decorations include the NASA Distinguished Service Medal
    NASA Distinguished Service Medal
    The NASA Distinguished Service Medal is the highest award which may be bestowed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States...

    , the NASA Exceptional Service Medal
    NASA Exceptional Service Medal
    The NASA Exceptional Service Medal is an award granted to U.S. government employees for significant sustained performance characterized by unusual initiative or creative ability that clearly demonstrates substantial improvement in engineering, aeronautics, space flight, administration, support, or...

    , and two awards of the NASA Space Flight Medal
    NASA Space Flight Medal
    The NASA Space Flight Medal is a decoration of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. According to its statutes, it is awarded "for significant achievement or service during individual participation as a civilian or military astronaut, pilot, mission specialist, payload specialist, or...

    .
  • Civilian awards and decorations include the Presidential Medal of Freedom
    Presidential Medal of Freedom
    The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

    , the Robert J. Collier Trophy, the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, and the Harmon International Trophy.
  • The crater Aldrin
    Aldrin (crater)
    Aldrin is a tiny impact crater located on the southern part of the Mare Tranquillitatis, to the east of Sabine. It is located about 50 kilometers to the northwest of the Apollo 11 landing site. Named after Buzz Aldrin, the crater is the western-most of a row of three craters named in honor of the...

     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
    Gustavus Adolphus College
    Gustavus Adolphus College is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America located in St. Peter, Minnesota, United States. A coeducational, four-year, residential institution, it was founded in 1862 by Swedish Americans. To this day the school is firmly...

    .
  • In 2001, President Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

     appointed Aldrin to the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry
    Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry
    The Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry was formed jointly by United States President George W. Bush and the United States Congress in 2001...

    .
  • Aldrin received the 2003 Humanitarian Award from Variety, the Children's Charity
    Variety, the Children's Charity
    Variety, the Children's Charity is an organisation founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 10, 1927, when a group of eleven men involved in show business set up a social club which they named the "Variety Club". On Christmas Eve 1928, a small baby was left on the steps the Sheridan Square...

    , 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
    National Space Society
    The National Space Society is an international nonprofit 501, educational, and scientific organization specializing in space advocacy...

    's Board of Governors, and has served as the organization's Chairman; an inductee of the Astronaut Hall of Fame
    Astronaut Hall of Fame
    The United States Astronaut Hall of Fame, located just south of Titusville, Florida, honors American astronauts and features the world's largest collection of their personal memorabilia, focusing on those astronauts who have been inducted into the Hall; as well as Sigma 7, the fifth manned Mercury...

    ; and a member of The Planetary Society
    Planetary Society
    The Planetary Society is a large, publicly supported, non-government and non-profit organization that has many research projects related to astronomy...

    , with Aldrin's pre-recorded voice appearing on nearly every episode of the Society's Planetary Radio
    Planetary Radio
    Planetary Radio is a weekly 30-minute radio show devoted to space exploration and astronomy, hosted and produced by Mat Kaplan and The Planetary Society. Every week, it consists mostly of interviews and telephone-based conversations with a scientist, engineer, project manager, artist, a writer and...

    .
  • In 2006, the Space Foundation
    Space Foundation
    The Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the global space industry through information and education programs. It is a resource for the entire space community - industry, national security organizations, civil space agencies, private space companies and the military around the...

     awarded Aldrin its highest honor, the General James E. Hill
    James E. Hill
    General James E. Hill was a World War II flying ace, U.S. Air Force General, and commander in chief of the North American Air Defense Command and the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Defense Command, with consolidated headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado.-Biography:Hill was...

     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
    Hollywood Walk of Fame
    The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

     at Hollywood and Vine
    Hollywood and Vine
    Hollywood and Vine, the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, became famous in the 1920s for its concentration of radio and movie-related businesses. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is centered on the intersection.Today, not many production...

    .
  • Inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame
    New Jersey Hall of Fame
    The New Jersey Hall of Fame is an organization that honors individuals from the U.S. state of New Jersey who have made contributions to society and the world beyond....

     in 2007.
  • In 2009, President Obama
    Barack Obama
    Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

     signed legislation conferring the Congressional Gold Medal upon Aldrin, his Apollo 11 crewmates, and John Glenn
    John Glenn
    John Herschel Glenn, Jr. is a former United States Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and United States senator who was the first American to orbit the Earth and the third American in space. Glenn was a Marine Corps fighter pilot before joining NASA's Mercury program as a member of NASA's original...

    .
  • In a 2010 Space Foundation
    Space Foundation
    The Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the global space industry through information and education programs. It is a resource for the entire space community - industry, national security organizations, civil space agencies, private space companies and the military around the...

     survey, Aldrin was ranked as the #9 (tied with astronauts Gus Grissom
    Gus Grissom
    Virgil Ivan Grissom , , better known as Gus Grissom, was one of the original NASA Project Mercury astronauts and a United States Air Force pilot...

     and Alan Shepard
    Alan Shepard
    Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. was an American naval aviator, test pilot, flag officer, and NASA astronaut who in 1961 became the second person, and the first American, in space. This Mercury flight was designed to enter space, but not to achieve orbit...

    ) most popular space hero.

UFO claims


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
Unidentified flying object
A term originally coined by the military, an unidentified flying object is an unusual apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable to the observer as any known 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
S-IVB
The S-IVB was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company and served as the third stage on the Saturn V and second stage on the Saturn IB. It had one J-2 engine...

 upper stage was 6,000 miles away, but the four 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
Howard Stern
Howard Allan Stern is an American radio personality, television host, author, and actor best known for his radio show, which was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2005. He gained wide recognition in the 1990s where he was labeled a "shock jock" for his outspoken and sometimes controversial style...

 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.

Hoax allegations


On September 9, 2002, filmmaker Bart Sibrel
Bart Sibrel
Bart Winfield Sibrel is a Nashville, Tennessee-based filmmaker who advances the conspiracy theory that the six Apollo Moon landings between 1969 and 1972 were hoaxes. He has filmed two documentaries on the subject: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon and Astronauts Gone Wild.-Dealings...

, a proponent of the Apollo moon landing hoax theory, confronted Aldrin and his stepdaughter outside a Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills, California
Beverly Hills is an affluent city located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. With a population of 34,109 at the 2010 census, up from 33,784 as of the 2000 census, it is home to numerous Hollywood celebrities. Beverly Hills and the neighboring city of West Hollywood are together...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 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 then 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, and that Aldrin had asked Sibrel to leave him alone. Sibrel suffered no serious injuries.

External links