As a former astronaut and the second person ever to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin is not your average 84-year-old. To celebrate the upcoming 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Buzz hosted a Reddit Ask Me Anything and also launched a YouTube channel, #Apollo45, where people can share their stories of where they were when Buzz and Neil Armstrong took their first steps on the moon. Read on for eight things we learned from Buzz, including his thoughts on aliens, 30 Rock, and his favorite space movie.
The moon's "magnificent desolation" is chilling:
BuzzAldrinHere: My first words of my impression being on the surface of the Moon that just came to my mind was "Magnificent desolation." The magnificence of human beings, humanity, Planet Earth, maturing the technologies, imagination and courage to expand our capabilities beyond the next ocean, to dream about being on the Moon, and then taking advantage of increases in technology and carrying out that dream — achieving that is a magnificent testimony to humanity. But it is also desolate — there is no place on earth as desolate as what I was viewing in those first moments on the Lunar Surface.
Because I realized what I was looking at, towards the horizon and in every direction, had not changed in hundreds, thousands of years. Beyond me I could see the moon curving away — no atmosphere, black sky. Cold. Colder than anyone could experience on Earth when the sun is up. . .
Actually, pictures of space aren't a bad way to star gaze:
BuzzAldrinHere: They recall (for me) the actual experience of myself in space — not by words, not by print, but visual reminders, it brings back a very in-depth appreciation.
Carl Sagan's work inspired the future of science:
BuzzAldrinHere: I met Carl Sagan and his wife. Both were very dedicated people to explaining to young people and to all people the benefits to be derived from space, the history of how our universe was formed, and the history of the advancement of the technologies that hundreds of years ago, enabled present day nations to use them to begin to add more science discoveries in space.
Yes, everyone loves Liz Lemon
BuzzAldrinHere: . . . When I was asked to consider participating [in 30 Rock], I jumped for joy, and I can't remember a more pleasant episode of discussions with Tina Fey as we talked about her fictitious mother's (I think it was) love affair that she had with me, Buzz Aldrin. And then we looked at the Moon, and we both sort of cursed at it for various reasons and said — I'll never forget the line — "I walked on your FACE!"
Dad jokes are always appropriate — even in space:
BuzzAldrinHere: I have since been told by a comic, by a humorist, what humor really is — but just as we were leaving the moon, I had given some thought to this, and I was able to create two achievements of humor in one sentence. When Mission Control said, to us, as we were about to leave "Tranquility bass, you are cleared for liftoff," I responded by saying to them "Roger, Houston, we are number one on the runway."
Sandra's Gravity performance was that good:
BuzzAldrinHere: I thought that the movie Gravity, the depiction of people moving around in zero gravity, was really the best I have seen. The free-falling, the actions that took place between two people, were very, I think, exaggerated, but probably bent the laws of physics. But to a person who's been in space, we would cringe looking at something that we hoped would NEVER, EVER Happen. It's very thrilling for the person who's never been there, because it portrays the hazards, the dangers that could come about if things begin to go wrong, and I think that as I came out of that movie, I said to myself and others, "Sandra Bullock deserves an Oscar."
We'd be foolish to think we're alone in the universe:
BuzzAldrinHere: Extraordinary observations require extraordinary evidence. That's what Carl Sagan said. There may be aliens in our Milky Way galaxy, and there are billions of other galaxies. The probability is almost CERTAIN that there is life somewhere in space. It was not that remarkable, that special, that unusual, that life here on earth evolved gradually, slowly, to where we are today.
Humans need to get to Mars and never come back:
BuzzAldrinHere: There is very little doubt, in my mind, that what the next monumental achievement of humanity will be the first landing by an Earthling, a human being, on the planet Mars . . . I have considered whether a landing on Mars could be done by the private sector. It conflicts with my very strong idea, concept, conviction, that the first human beings to land on Mars should not come back to Earth. They should be the beginning of a build-up of a colony / settlement, I call it a "permanence" . . . You want it to be permanent from the get-go . . .
Tourism trips to Mars and back are just not the appropriate way for human beings from Earth — to have an individual company, no matter how smart, send people to mars and bring them back, it is VERY very expensive. It delays the obtaining of permanence, internationally.
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