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Simply put, MIT-educated Buzz Aldrin was one of the smartest guys in the astronaut corps.
During Project Gemini, spacewalker after spacewalker had failed. They tired quickly, and Buzz studied their problems. By the time he stepped into space, he had invented the tools and methods needed to walk in a vacuum. For example, he fashioned a pair of golden slippers that could be placed where needed to hold his booted feet. A spacewalker needs that — something to hold his or her feet in place — to keep stable attachment with the spaceship. Otherwise you will thrash about wildly. During Gemini 12, Buzz Aldrin whistled and sang through his spacewalk assignments.
And when he returned from the moon, when one of those moon-conspiracy theorists shoved a Bible in Aldrin’s face and ordered him to swear on it that he walked on the moon, Buzz decked him. Fellow astronaut Wally Schirra, one of the original Mercury 7, renamed him Rocky. That’s my kind of man.
After 51 years on the job, after covering every spaceflight flown by Americans, I can report that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin — and Michael Collins, who kept stoking the home fires on board the Apollo 11’s command ship Columbia — were the best Earth had to offer.
History, this time we got it right.
“You know it is a wonderful thing to be faithful, but a much greater thing to be both faithful and competent. There is no particular virtue in being uninformed, certainly no virtue in ignorance. When young people can acquire the skills, the techniques, and the knowledge of these times, and along with it have a spiritual commitment and a solid faith and cleanliness of life, there is nothing that you cannot achieve, nothing in righteousness, or in reason.”
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