|Birth Date||January 20, 1930|
|Hometown||Geln Ridge, New Jersey|
|Highest Score||14 (Cha-Cha-Cha)|
|Lowest Score||12 (Foxtrot)|
Aldrin was born January 20, 1930, in Mountainside Hospital, in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. His parents were Edwin Eugene Aldrin Sr. (1896–1974), a career military man, and Marion Aldrin (née Moon, 1903–1968), who lived in neighboring Montclair. He is of Scottish, Swedish, and German ancestry. Aldrin was a Boy Scout and earned the rank of Tenderfoot Scout.
After graduating from Montclair High School in 1947, Aldrin turned down a full scholarship offer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (which he would later attend for graduate school), and went to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The nickname "Buzz" originated in childhood: the younger of his two elder sisters mispronounced "brother" as "buzzer", and this was shortened to Buzz. Aldrin made it his legal first name in 1988.
Aldrin graduated third in his class at West Point in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and served as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 66 combat missions in F-86 Sabres and shot down two Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 aircraft. The June 8, 1953, issue of Life magazine featured gun camera photos taken by Aldrin of one of the Soviet pilots ejecting from his damaged aircraft.
After the war, Aldrin was assigned as an aerial gunnery instructor at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, and next was an aide to the dean of faculty at the United States Air Force Academy, which had recently begun operations in 1955. That same year, he graduated from the Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. He flew F-100 Super Sabres as a flight commander at Bitburg Air Base, West Germany, in the 22d Fighter Squadron.
In January 1963, Aldrin earned a Sc.D. degree in astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he had been assigned as a graduate student (under the auspices of the Air Force Institute of Technology) since 1959. His doctoral thesis was Line-of-Sight Guidance Techniques for Manned Orbital Rendezvous, the dedication of which read, "In the hopes that this work may in some way contribute to their exploration of space, this is dedicated to the crew members of this country's present and future manned space programs. If only I could join them in their exciting endeavors!"
On completion of his doctorate, he was assigned to the Gemini Target Office of the Air Force Space Systems Division in Los Angeles before his selection as an astronaut. His initial application to join the astronaut corps was rejected on the basis of never having been a test pilot; that prerequisite was lifted when he re-applied and was accepted into the third astronaut class.
Aldrin was selected as a member of the third group of NASA astronauts in October 1963. Because test pilot experience was no longer a requirement, this was the first selection for which he was eligible. After the deaths of the original Gemini 9 prime crew, Elliot See and Charles Bassett, Aldrin and Jim Lovell were promoted to backup crew for the mission. The main objective of the revised mission (Gemini 9A) was to rendezvous and dock with a target vehicle, but when this failed, Aldrin improvised an effective exercise for the craft to rendezvous with a co-ordinate in space. He was confirmed as pilot on Gemini 12, the last Gemini mission and the last chance to prove methods for extravehicular activity (EVA). He set a record for EVA, demonstrating that astronauts could work outside spacecraft.
Aldrin was chosen for the crew of Apollo 11 and made the first lunar landing with commander Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969. The next day, Aldrin became the second person to walk on the Moon, keeping his record total EVA time until that was surpassed on Apollo 14. Aldrin's first words on the Moon were "Beautiful view." Then, in response to Armstrong asking, "Isn't it magnificent?", he responded, "Magnificent desolation." He was also the first person to urinate while on the Moon.
After leaving NASA in July 1971, Aldrin was assigned as the Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. In March 1972, Aldrin retired from active duty after 21 years of service, and returned to the Air Force in a managerial role, but his career was blighted by personal problems. His autobiographies Return to Earth, published in 1973, and Magnificent Desolation, published in June 2009, both provide accounts of his struggles with clinical depression and alcoholism in the years following his NASA career. Aldrin's life improved considerably when he recognized and sought treatment for his problems.
Since retiring from NASA, he has continued to promote space exploration. In 1985 he joined the University of North Dakota's College of Aerospace Sciences (now the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences) at the invitation of John D. Odegard, the dean of the college at time. Aldrin helped to develop UND's Space Studies program and brought Dr. David Webb from NASA to serve as the department's first chair. Later, he produced a computer strategy game called Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space (1993). To further promote space exploration, and to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing, Aldrin teamed up with Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Talib Kweli, and Soulja Boy to create the rap single and video, "Rocket Experience", with proceeds from video and song sales to benefit Aldrin's non-profit foundation, ShareSpace.
He referred to the Phobos monolith in a July 22, 2009, interview with C-SPAN: "We should go boldly where man has not gone before. Fly by the comets, visit asteroids, visit the moon of Mars. There's a monolith there. A very unusual structure on this potato shaped object that goes around Mars once in seven hours. When people find out about that they're going to say 'Who put that there? Who put that there?' The universe put it there. If you choose, God put it there…"
Aldrin has voiced parody versions of himself in two of Matt Groening's animated series: The Simpsons episode "Deep Space Homer", in which he accompanies Homer Simpson on a trip into space as part of NASA's plan to improve its public appearance, and the Futurama episode "Cold Warriors". In 2011, Aldrin appeared as himself in the film Transformers: Dark of the Moon, where he explains to Optimus Prime and the Autobots that the Apollo 11 mission also discovered a Cybertronian ship on the Moon whose existence was concealed from the public.
In 2012, he made a cameo appearance in Japanese drama film Space Brothers. Aldrin appeared as himself in The Big Bang Theory episode, "The Holographic Excitation", which aired on October 25, 2012. Aldrin also lent his voice talents to the 2012 video game, Mass Effect 3, playing a stargazer who appears in the game's final scene.
In December 2016, Aldrin was visiting the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica, as part of a tourist group, when he fell ill and was evacuated, first to McMurdo Station and from there to Christchurch, New Zealand, where he was reported to be in stable condition. Aldrin's visit at age 86 makes him the oldest person to ever reach the South Pole.
In 1985, Aldrin proposed the existence of a special spacecraft trajectory now known as the Aldrin cycler. Aldrin's system of cycling spacecraft makes travel to Mars possible using far less propellant than conventional means, with an expected five and a half month journey from the Earth to Mars, and a return trip to Earth of about the same duration on a twin-cycler. Aldrin is still working on this with engineers from Purdue University.
Bart Sibrel Incident
On September 9, 2002, Aldrin was lured to a Beverly Hills hotel on the pretext of being interviewed for a Japanese children's television show on the subject of space. When he arrived, Apollo conspiracy proponent Bart Sibrel accosted him with a film crew and demanded he swear on a Bible that the Moon landings were not faked, insisting that Aldrin and others had lied about walking on the Moon. After a brief confrontation, in which Sibrel called him "a coward and a liar", Aldrin punched Sibrel in the jaw, which was caught on camera by Sibrel's film crew. The police determined that Aldrin was provoked and no charges were filed. Aldrin dedicates a chapter to this incident in his autobiography Magnificent Desolation.
Aldrin has been married three times. His first marriage was to Joan Archer (1954–1974), the mother of his three children (James, Janice and Andrew). His second marriage was to Beverly Zile (1975–1978). His third marriage was to Lois Driggs Cannon (1988–2011), from whom he filed for divorce on June 15, 2011, in Los Angeles, citing "irreconcilable differences". The divorce was finalized on December 28, 2012. He has one grandson, Jeffrey Schuss, born to his daughter, Janice.
His battles against depression and alcoholism, upon returning home from the Apollo 11 mission, have been documented, most recently in Magnificent Desolation. Aldrin is an active supporter of the Republican Party, headlining fundraisers for GOP members of Congress.
In 2007, Aldrin confirmed to Time magazine that he had recently had a face-lift; he joked that the G-forces he was exposed to in space "caused a sagging jowl that needed some attention."
Aldrin commented on the death of his Apollo 11 colleague, Neil Armstrong, saying that he was "deeply saddened by the passing. I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. I had truly hoped that on July 20th, 2019, Neil, Mike and I would be standing together to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our Moon landing...Regrettably, this is not to be." Fellow Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell died on the eve of the 45th anniversary of Mitchel's lunar landing. His death was widely reported, and fellow Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin tweeted the following morning, "It's the 45th Anniv of the #Apollo14 landing on the moon & yesterday we lost another Lunar Pioneer Edgar Mitchell."
Aldrin primarily resided in Los Angeles, California and nearby environs, including Hidden Hills and Laguna Beach, from 1972 to 2014. Following his third divorce, he sold his Westwood condominium (initially purchased in 1998) for $2.87 million in 2014. As of 2016, Aldrin lived in Satellite Beach, Florida.
Dancing with the Stars 10
|Week #||Dance/Song||Judges' score||Result|
|2||Foxtrot/"Fly Me to the Moon"||4||4||4||Safe|
|3||Waltz/"What a Wonderful World"||5||4||4||Eliminated|