Buzz: Where were you when I walked on moon?

2014-07-17 12:24
The Saturn V rocket that launched Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their Apollo 11 moon mission. (Nasa, AP)

The Saturn V rocket that launched Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their Apollo 11 moon mission. (Nasa, AP)

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Cape Canaveral - On 20 July 1969, Buzz Aldrin was "out of town" when the world united and rejoiced in a way never seen before or since.

He and Neil Armstrong were on the moon.

They missed the whole celebration 45 years ago this Sunday. So did Michael Collins, orbiting solo around the moon in the mother ship.

Now, on this Apollo 11 milestone, Aldrin is asking everyone to remember where they were when he and Armstrong became the first humans to step onto another heavenly body, and to share their memories online.

Too young? You can also share how the moonwalkers inspired you.

Celebrities, public figures, and other astronauts and scientists are happily obliging with videos.

"What a day that was", said actor Tom Hanks, sipping from an Apollo 11 commemorative cup. He starred in the 1995 film "Apollo 13", another gripping moon story.

"Going to space is a big deal. Walking on the moon is, literally, walking on the moon", said singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams, born four years afterward.

And from London Mayor Boris Johnson, who watched the event unfold on an a little black-and-white TV at an English farmhouse: "I knew immediately it was the most exciting thing that I'd ever seen. I was only 5 at the time. And it still is just about the most exciting thing I've ever seen."

In all, 12 men explored the moon in six landings through 1972. But that first moonwalk, by Armstrong and Aldrin, is what clinched America's place as space leader supreme following a string of crushing losses to the Soviet Union, which claimed title to first satellite, first spaceman, first spacewoman and first spacewalker.

"US 1, Sputnik nothing", actor Louis Gossett Jr said with a laugh in his video.

It's the first big anniversary of man's first moon landing without Armstrong, whose "one small step, one giant leap" immortalised the moment. Armstrong, long known for his reticence, died in 2012 at age 82.

As Apollo 11's commander, Armstrong was first out the lunar module, Eagle, onto the dusty surface of Tranquility Base. Aldrin followed.

Collins, now aged 83, the command module pilot who stayed behind in lunar orbit as the gatekeeper, also spent decades sidestepping the spotlight.

He's making an exception for the 45th anniversary; he plans to take part in a Nasa ceremony at Kennedy Space Centre on Monday to add Armstrong's name to the historic Operations and Checkout Building.

That leaves Aldrin, aged 84, as the perennial spokesperson for Apollo 11. He will also be at Monday's ceremony.

"I consider myself a global statesman for space", Aldrin says in a video. "So I spend most of my time travelling the country and the world to remind people what Nasa and our space program have accomplished, and what is still in our future at Mars. I feel we need to remind the world about the Apollo missions and that we can still do impossible things."

Aldrin used to keep a little black book to list people's whereabouts on 20 July 1969. Everyone wanted to share that with him.

Now he's using social media and asking people to post a video to YouTube using the hashtag #Apollo45.

Some of videos urge a return to the moon. President Barack Obama scrapped that idea in 2010 in favour of sending astronauts to an asteroid and then Mars.
Read more on:    buzz aldrin  |  neil armstrong  |  barack obama  |  us  |  space

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