|Born||20 January, 1930 Montclair, New Jersey|
|Parents||Edwin Eugene Aldrin|
Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr. on January 20, 1930) was the second man to set foot on the moon. He continues to advocate for space exploration.
Graduating from West Point with a degree in mechanical engineering, Aldrin fought with the United States Air Force in the Korean War, eventually earning the rank of colonel. He then went on to study astronautics at MIT. In 1963, he joined NASA as part of the third group of astronauts.
In 1969, Aldrin became the second person to walk on the moon, as part of the Apollo 11 mission with Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins (the second of whom did not land on the moon but stayed with the command module in orbit).
Before taking off to the moon, Aldrin had asked his pastor for a piece of the bread and wine from his church's communion service, wishing to imitate Christopher Columbus by celebrating communion upon arrival in a new world. NASA, which had suffered a lawsuit from well-known atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair after the Apollo 8 astronauts had read from the Book of Genesis on radio, asked him to keep it quiet.
So, during the rest period between landing and exiting to the moon, Aldrin broadcast:
This is the LM pilot. 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.
Then, turning off the radio, he took Communion silently after reading: "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me." Armstrong "watched respectfully, but made no comment to me at the time."
Upon stepping on the surface of the moon, Aldrin's first words were, "Beautiful, beautiful. Magnificent desolation."
Aldrin retired from NASA and the Air Force in 1972. He suffered from depression, which improved significantly after his marriage in 1988. Aldrin continues to promote space exploration.