Buzz Aldrin (* 1930) is an American astronaut and the man, who, as part of the Apollo 11 mission on 21st July 1969, stepped onto the Moon as the second person, just after Neil Armstrong. He stood in the shadow of his colleague and one could assume that he may have suffered under these circumstances. But this was not the case, he did not really want to be in the spotlight and was satisfied coming second. After he set his feet into the dust 20 minutes after Armstrong did, he said: »Beautiful, beautiful. Magnificent desolation.«
The most famous photograph was taken during this mission, and as often incorrectly assumed that it showed Armstrong. But he was standing behind the camera and pressed the release button. So we actually see Buzz Aldrin on the most frequently shown photograph of a human on the Moon.
In connection with the Gemini 12 mission in November 1966, Aldrin took the first »space selfie«, a trend that we only know too well nowadays. The picture was auctioned for $9,200 at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury in London, in 2015.
Aldrin’s father was a military pilot and encouraged his son’s desire of flying in his early years. Buzz Aldrin was very athletic and served in the US Air Force and was a fighter pilot in the Korean War. Afterwards he studied aviation and aerospace technology, made his doctorate, and then started at NASA. The rest is history.
The nick name »Buzz« stems from his sister Fay Ann, who used to call him »Buzzer« when he was a child – the wrong pronunciation of the word »brother«. In the 80’s he officially gave up his first names Edwin Eugene and became Buzz Aldrin.
Worth mentioning is still the maiden name of his mother; she was called Marion Moon … a nice and small detail of an otherwise quite difficult life that was marked by alcohol. She committed suicide shortly before the moon landing, possibly of fear not being able to cope with all the turmoil. This may have also been one of the reasons for Aldrin’s restraint during the moon landing.
Buzz Aldrin talks in his book »No Dream Is Too High – Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon«, how he dealt with his role being the second man on the Moon, how he learned not to be deterred by obstacles nor setbacks, to realize your dreams and to always look for new opportunities in life. True words!
We feel that Buzz Aldrin’s achievements deserve as much notice and recognition as the ones from his colleagues. And maybe we get to learn more about not always paying attention to the No. 1’s, but to value the common achievements.