Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon and he is visiting Australia to talk about his new mission to land humans on Mars by 2035!

The early years for Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin was born in Montclair, New Jersey on January 20, 1930. His mother, Marion Moon, was the daughter of an Army Chaplain. His father, Edwin Eugene Aldrin, was a Colonel in the Air Force, a ScD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and an aviation pioneer who later became the Commanding Officer of the Newark Airport in New Jersey.

“Mars is there, waiting to be reached” Buzz Aldrin

Buzz grew up in New Jersey and after graduating one year early from Montclair High School he was educated at the US Military Academy at West Point, graduating third in his class with a BS in mechanical engineering. He then joined the Air-Force where he flew F86 Sabre Jets in 66 combat missions in Korea, shot down two MIG-15′s, and was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross.

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Buzz inside the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (Photo: Buzz Aldrin Enterprises for Buzz)

After a tour of duty in Germany flying F100′s, he went on to earn his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at MIT and wrote his thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous. Selected by NASA in 1963 into the third group of astronauts, Aldrin was the first with a doctorate and became known as “Dr. Rendezvous.”

“These footprints below to each and every one of you, to all mankind.” Buzz Aldrin

Breakthrough ideas in space

The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit became critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs, and are still used today. He also pioneered underwater training techniques, as a substitute for zero gravity flights, to simulate spacewalking.

In 1966 on the Gemini 12 orbital mission, Buzz performed the world’s first successful spacewalk, overcoming prior difficulties experienced by Americans and Russians during extra-vehicular activity (EVA), and setting a new EVA record of 5 ½ hours.

On July 20, 1969, Buzz and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. They spent 21 hours on the lunar surface and returned with 46 pounds of moon rocks.

This two-minute video montage shows highlights of the Apollo 11 moonwalk.

An estimated 600 million people – at that time, the world’s largest television audience in history – witnessed this unprecedented heroic endeavour.

July 20, 1969 was one giant leap for mankind

A decorated hero

Upon returning from the moon, Buzz was decorated with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest American peacetime award.

A 45-day international goodwill tour followed, where he received numerous distinguished awards and medals from 23 other countries. Named after Buzz are Asteroid “6470 Aldrin” and the “Aldrin Crater” on the moon.

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Buzz Aldrin with Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins of Apollo 11 crew. (Photo: Buzz Aldrin Enterprises for Buzz)

Buzz and his Apollo 11 crew have four “stars” on each corner of Hollywood and Vine streets on the renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame.

On November 16, 2011, Dr. Aldrin was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honour, along with the other Apollo 11 crew members, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins, and Mercury Seven astronaut, John Glenn, for their significant contribution to society and for blazing the trail of exploration.

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The crew in the quarantine station with President Nixon speaking to them after they returned from the Moon (Photo: Buzz Aldrin Enterprises for Buzz)

Still focussed on the future of space exploration

Since retiring from NASA and the Air Force, Col. Aldrin has remained at the forefront of efforts to ensure America’s continued leadership in human space exploration.

He devised a master plan for missions to Mars known as the “Aldrin Mars Cycler” – a spacecraft system with perpetual cycling orbits between Earth and Mars.

Dr. Aldrin has received three US patents for his schematics of a modular space station, Starbooster reusable rockets, and multi-crew modules for space flight.

He founded Starcraft Boosters, Inc., a rocket design company, and Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to addressing science literacy for children by igniting their passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) through delivering hands-on STEAM activities and inspirational messages.

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Browse through a number of Aldrin's bestsellers here

Buzz the author

Dr. Aldrin is an author of eight books including his New York Times best selling autobiography entitled, Magnificent Desolation which was released in 2009 just before the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing.

He continues to inspire today’s youth with his illustrated children’s books: Reaching for the Moon, another New York Times best-seller, and Look to the Stars. He has also authored two space science-fact-fiction novels: The Return and Encounter with Tiber.

His non-fiction works include the best-seller historical documentary, Men from Earth, and an early 1970′s autobiography, Return to Earth.

His latest book, Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration outlines his plan to get us beyond the moon and on to Mars.

As one of the leading space exploration advocates, Buzz continues to chart a course for future space travel and is passionate about inspiring the younger generations of future explorers and innovators.

What’s next for Buzz Aldrin?

From his out-of-this-world achievements to ShareSpace Foundation to the Lunar Renaissance initiative to advising NASA on the best path forward, the Buzz doesn’t stop there.

A true visionary, he sees what our future in space can hold, and encourages us to reach for the stars literally by advancing our capabilities and investing in a plan for long-term space exploration. The door to the space frontier has opened.

In its first 50 years, nearly 500 people have flown into space. Yet no nation has been back to the Moon or yet set foot on Mars. With strong public support, national leadership and international collaboration, we can open the door much wider.

Remember when man first walked on the moon?

Aldrin and Armstrong recount the tense lunar descent of Apollo 11 and the first human footsteps on the lunar surface

  • 20th July 1969. It's a little over eight years since the flights of Gagarin and Shepard, followed quickly by President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon before the decade is out.
  • When the lunar module lands at 4:18 p.m EDT, only 30 seconds of fuel remain. Armstrong radios “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Mission control erupts in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew “You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we're breathing again.”
  • At 10:56 p.m. EDT Armstrong is ready to plant the first human foot on another world. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbs down the ladder and proclaims: “That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
  • Buzz Aldrin joins him shortly, and offers a simple but powerful description of the lunar surface: “magnificent desolation.” They explore the surface for two and a half hours, collecting samples and taking photographs.
  • They leave behind an American flag, a patch honouring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque on one of Eagle's legs. It reads, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
  • Armstrong and Aldrin blast off and dock with Collins in Columbia. Collins later says that “for the first time,” he “really felt that we were going to carry this thing off.”
  • The crew splashes down off Hawaii on July 24. Kennedy's challenge has been met. Men from Earth have walked on the moon and returned safely home.

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See Buzz Aldrin live on stage with Ray Martin

In An Evening with Buzz Aldrin – Mission to Mars, we take a journey with Buzz through space history and into the future, a future beyond planet Earth.

We will relive his incredible missions from fighter pilot in Korea, his pioneering flight in Gemini 12, where he made the world’s first successful record-setting complex space walk EVA, Man’s historic Apollo 11 Moon landing and together with Neil Armstrong becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world.

Now Buzz is on a new mission, a mission to land humans on Mars by 2035 and he has a revolutionary plan to do it.

Hosted by Australia’s most experienced journalist Ray Martin and using stunning images and footage from Buzz Aldrin’s personal library of material, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see and learn about the future of space exploration from one of the greatest hero’s of our time.

Tickets are available for the Sydney show An Evening With Buzz Aldrin: Mission to Mars on Friday 27th November at 8pm at Sydney’s State Theatre from $88.31 + booking fee and the Melbourne Town Hall on Sunday 29th November at 8pm from $74.73 + booking fee.

The competition to win tickets has ended.

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