Buzz Aldrin

Past Global Perspectives Guest Speaker

A living hero, an American patriot and space pioneer, when Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed the Eagle on the moon forty years ago, the event marked not only the fulfillment of President Kennedy's mission to send someone to the moon before the end of the 1960s, but also began a new era of space exploration for all humanity. Buzz Aldrin is a reminder of the adventurous spirit of our country and stands as one of the bravest explorers of all time. He shared his memories of his momentous walk on the moon, the travels he's taken since and his vision for the future of exploration with guests aboard National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica on the Jan. 7, 2010 voyage.

He graduated third in his class at West Point, was a jet fighter pilot in Korea and earned his Doctor of Astronautics from MIT. Each of those accomplishments helped to prepare Buzz Aldrin for the historic event when he and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and took "One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind."

When the Eagle landed on July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin completed an American mission, and his feat is widely remembered as one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century and the most memorable event in television history. Aldrin also piloted the Gemini 12 rendezvous space flight in 1966, during which he set a new 5.5 hour record for extended spacewalking.

Today we stand at the dawn of a new future that beckons space travel and exploration. Dr. Aldrin's nonprofit ShareSpace Foundation, under a grant from NASA, is developing a study on just how long-range space exploration can benefit from opening the doors to space tourism; meanwhile his think-tank Starcraft Boosters, Inc. works on the rocket designs that can get us there. Dr. Aldrin chairs both the National Space Society and the ShareSpace Foundation. Dr. Aldrin is a 2005 recipient of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans award. He was selected from hundreds of nominations based on having overcome humble beginnings and adversity to achieve success. Members of the Association mentor young people and sponsor over $5 million in Horatio Alger need-based scholarships awarded annually.

Dr. Aldrin's novel, a space adventure entitled The Return, fascinates readers with its story of four indomitable childhood friends who present the only hope to overcome a space-age crisis in a world where space tourism has come to fruition. Aldrin's past books include his first space novel and bestseller, Encounter with Tiber. His most recent published work is a children's book, Reaching for the Moon, which relates the life events that led him to the space program and his assignment on Apollo 11.

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