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Buzz Aldrin

Astronaut

Born: 20 January 1930
Birthplace: Montclair, New Jersey
Best known as: The second man on the moon

Name at birth: Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr.

Buzz Aldrin was the second human to walk on the moon. On July 20, 1969, he followed Neil Armstrong onto the lunar surface while a third American astronaut, Michael Collins, remained in orbit overhead. Aldrin attended West Point, flew fighter jets in the Korean War, and then earned a doctorate in astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) before joining the NASA astronaut corps in October of 1963. He flew on the Gemini 12 space mission (launched 11 November 1966) and then was chosen as the lunar module pilot for Apollo 11, the first manned mission to the surface of the moon. The success of Apollo 11 made Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins international heroes. Since his retirement from NASA, Aldrin has been an unabashed booster for space exploration. He founded Starcraft Boosters, a private rocket design firm. His autobiography, Return to Earth was published in 1973. He also wrote the sci-fi novels Encounter With Tiber (1996) and The Return (2000).

Extra credit: Aldrin reached the rank of colonel in the U.S. Air Force... Aldrin reportedly got the nickname Buzz from his baby sister, who called him "buzzer" while trying to say "brother"... In a famous 2002 incident, Aldrin punched a conspiracy theorist, Bart Sibrel, who blocked Aldrin's path and called him "a coward and a liar" outside a Beverly Hills hotel. (Sibrel has often claimed the moon landings were a hoax.) Sibrel complained to police, but authorities declined to press charges against Aldrin.

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