Everyone seems to know that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon, but he almost wasn't. NASA considered another man for this honor, but as fate would have it the plans changed. Buzz Aldrin thus became the second man to walk on the moon.
Buzz Aldrin was born in 1930 and graduated third in his class from West Point in 1951. He flew 66 combat missions in the Korean War in the early 1950s, shooting down two Russian MIG jets. In 1963, he was selected by NASA as one of the first astronauts, and in 1966 he flew a Gemini mission in which he established a record for EVA or Extra Vehicle Activity--activity performed outside of a spacecraft away from Earth. Aldrin went to the moon on Apollo 11 with Neil Armstrong and Mike Collins, becoming the second man to walk on the moon on July 20th, 1969.
The lunar landing was witnessed by more people around the world on television than any other broadcast. Aldrin was in the forefront of making continued improvements to navigational procedures. Aldrin's work on one of his Gemini missions became the standard procedure still in use today, as he proved that humans could effectively work while outside the spacecraft. Among the fifty-plus medals he has been honored with is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award that one can receive in the United States.
The famous photo of a man standing on the moon in his spacesuit with the reflection of the lunar lander in the visor is not Neil Armstrong as many people believe. Buzz Aldrin is the man in this picture, one of the most famous ever taken. Aldrin's real name is in reality now Buzz, as he had it legally changed in the 1980s, but his given name was Edwin.
Those who subscribe to wild theories feel that Aldrin never walked on the moon. They hypothesize that the entire moon landing was a hoax. One such fellow once approached Aldrin outside a hotel and began to rant that Buzz was a liar and had never been on the moon. Aldrin promptly punched the man in the mouth.
Ironically, Aldrin's mother's maiden name was Moon. He got his name "Buzz" when his sister continually mispronounced the word "Brother", calling him "Buzzer." Aldrin founded his own rocket design company and received a patent for a space station he envisioned.
- Photo Credit bettererror.com
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