In today's Wall Street Journal (go here), I interview Buzz Aldrin—the second astronaut to walk on the moon after Neil Armstrong set up cameras on the lunar surface. In my conversation with Buzz, we talked about what it was like to live in the lunar craft for 21 1/2 hours, the stress of being so far from home and his dread that the Eagle might not lift off, leaving him and Armstrong there to perish. Some improvisation and quick thinking were required—especially when a circuit breaker came undone.
I've always wanted to interview one of the moon astronauts. I suppose it's the little boy in me who, like everyone else on July 20, 1969, watched CBS' Walter Cronkite report that the Eagle had landed. The moon trip seemed inconceivable then and still does today. Not the technology part—since we know now that anything is possible if you put the right minds together and give them a deadline. Impossible, in the sense that most of us would flip out if we stood on the moon and looked back at Earth. The moonwalkers had the right stuff, physically and emotionally.
I asked Buzz about that moment and other down-to-earth questions regarding that historic mission nearly 44 years ago. His answers are all in today's paper. What isn't in the piece is this: Apparently, every time Buzz flies commercial, the pilots know it from the manifest and go nuts—urging him to see the cockpit and taking pictures before the plane takes off. Makes perfect sense to me. Oh, his mother's maiden name? Moon.
Here's Frank Sinatra singing all about it...