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Space-Age Wisdom with Buzz Aldrin

NASA astronaut and author Buzz Aldrin

NASA astronaut and author Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin, 86, is an American icon. On July 20, 1969, he landed on the moon as NASA’s Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot. The next day, he became the second man to walk on the moon’s surface. Since then, the former Korean War fighter pilot has received countless medals and awards, earned his doctorate from MIT and been “to infinity and beyond” as the inspiration for Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear. We caught up with Aldrin to talk about space… and life.

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The future of NASA…
We went from NASA previously being an advisory agency. And then, to get to the moon, it had to become an operation agency. Now we’re finding that the private sector can do many things better than the government. Maybe we need to do more advising corporations’ commercial activities in space, and participate in that, too.

Working together as a planet to explore space, rather than competing as national space programs…

You certainly don’t compete, you cooperate. You have to. I’m doing the best I can to provide input into NASA. I have a little feel for strategy, being with the program and familiar with military strategy and policy and nations. We have to alleviate things with Russia by connecting back in space. We should be open to trying to do that with the Chinese. Because doing that is something that is right — above the atmosphere.

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Surrounded by greatness…
I got to know people. (Billionaire and aerospace engineer) Howard Hughes, (Medal of Honor recipient and aviation pioneer) Jimmy Doolittle. I knew (U.S. senator and astronaut) John Glenn in Korea. He was a captain, years before. These were inspiring people.

Life advice…

Envision the image of somebody walking into the future with their arms spread out, encountering as many opportunities as they can find, examining them, testing them, trying them, and then pick the ones that you can make the best contribution, and they can make a contribution to you. Not just a flash in the pan, but something that is permanent. And if you get into trouble in any different way, ask for help. Because you’ll find that when you help somebody else, you feel better about helping them. And you may need the same help from somebody else one of these days.

Final thoughts…

Aim high. No dream is too high with your eyes in the sky.

Space-Age Wisdom

Aldrin has authored nine books, his most recent being 2016’s No Dream is Too High (co-author Ken Abraham). These are the 13 tenets of the philosophy of Buzz.

“The sky is not the limit … There are footprints on the Moon!”

“Keep your mind open to possibilities.”

“Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.”

“Second comes right after first.”

“Write your own epitaph.”

“Maintain your spirit of adventure.”

“Failure is always an option.”

“Practice respect for all people.”

“Do what you believe is right even when others choose otherwise.”

“Trust your gut … and your instruments.”

“Laugh … a lot!”

“Keep a young mindset at every age.”

“Help others go beyond where you have gone.”