BUZZ Aldrin is a former American astronaut who became the second man to walk on the moon 50 years ago.
His achievements, along with the rest of the Apollo 11 crew, are still seen as one of the greatest feats in human history. Here’s Buzz’s story and how he helped mankind make one giant leap.
Who is Buzz Aldrin, how old is he and what’s his net worth?
Born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, in January 1930, Buzz’s real name was Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr but he ended up using Buzz due to his older sisters constantly mispronouncing brother as “Buzzer”.
In 1988, Aldrin legally changed his name from Edwin to Buzz.
He joined the prestigious US military academy at West Point after graduating from high school in 1947 – following in the footsteps of his father who had also served in the armed forces.
Aldrin saw action during the Korean War in the US Air Force as a fighter pilot.
After several years in the Air Force he gained a degree in astronautics in 1963 and quickly became part of Nasa’s select group of astronauts.
Aldrin joined Nasa at the height of the Cold War, with space increasingly becoming a cause of conflict and competition between the US and the USSR.
On July 20, 1969, a truly momentous moment in human history occurred when Armstrong, followed closely by Aldrin, made the first ever lunar landing and made mankind’s first steps on to the surface of the moon.
The event is best remembered by Armstrong’s iconic quote: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
In comparison, Aldrin’s first words after exiting the lunar vehicle were simply “Beautiful view”.
Aldrin retired from active duty in March 1972 but still makes public appearances and continues to be an advocate for space exploration, pushing in 2009 for a manned mission to Mars.
He has also made appearances as himself in The Simpsons and Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon.
Now aged 89, the former astronaut is estimated to be worth a whopping £9.6million (US$12m).
What has he said about Aliens and UFOs?
In April 2018, it was reported that Aldrin, along with three other astronauts, had passed lie detector tests over claims they had experienced alien encounters.
Allegedly, Aldrin, Al Worden, Edgar Mitchell and Gordon Cooper all took part in the study which took place at the Institute of BioAcoustic Biology in Albany, Ohio, the Daily Star reported.
Aldrin was said to have claimed he saw a spaceship on his way to the moon, adding: “There was something out there that was close enough to be observed… sort of L-shaped.”
But, last year, news agency The Associated Press firmly scotched the story as “not real”, as “Buzz Aldrin didn’t see aliens on [the] moon mission.”
AP reported: “Buzz Aldrin never said he saw aliens during his voyage to the moon, despite a recent online story claiming the astronaut passed a “lie detector test” confirming a close encounter.
“The widely shared story… claims the second man to walk on the moon ‘took part’ in research conducted by an Ohio woman, Sharry Edwards.
“Edwards told AP in an email, ‘There were no tests.’
“She claims that reviews of recordings of Aldrin’s voice indicate he ‘has a firm belief’ that he saw a UFO.”
The agency adds: “But that’s not what Aldrin said in a 2014 question-and-answer session on Reddit.
“He described a light that appeared to be moving alongside his spacecraft and said ‘it was not an alien.’
“NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz said in an email to the AP that Aldrin likely saw panels that separated as the Apollo 11 command module manoeuvred to dock with the lunar lander on the way to the moon in 1969.”
Why did he sue his children?
In March 2019, the Apollo 11 astronaut dropped his lawsuit against his two adult children.
Aldrin had been suing them and his former business manager, claiming they stole money and were stopping him from getting married.
The lawsuit was filed after his kids petitioned to take control of his finances, alleging that he is suffering from memory loss and confusion.
He claimed that his son, daughter and former manager Christina Korp also undermined his “personal romantic relationships” by forbidding him from getting married.
In the legal filing in June 2018, his children Andrew and Janice contended Aldrin had recently begun associating with new friends who were trying to alienate him from his family.
The court documents also said he had been spending money at “an alarming rate”.
But Aldrin claimed the pair had been slandering him for years by claiming he suffers from dementia and has Alzheimer’s disease.
His lawyer, Keith Durkin, said that his children had withdrawn their petition seeking guardianship of his financial affairs – prompting Aldrin to drop his civil lawsuit against them and his ex-manager.