Each year, the International Space University honors the memory of one of its greatest supporters, Dr. Gerald Soffen, with a lecture featuring a prominent visionary in the space sector. Few are more visionary than ISU’s Chancellor and Apollo 11 moonwalker, Dr. Buzz Aldrin.
Buzz Aldrin, most famously known as the second man to walk on the Moon is hands-on with the next big dream: humanity’s next big frontier – getting people to Mars.
On Tuesday 28th July 2016 at the Technion the 86-year-old space man addressed the 2016 class of the International Space University, sharing his experiences as an astronaut and his mission not only to fly people to the Red Planet, but also to “maintain a permanent human presence on Mars.”
“There’s no greater endeavor that humanity will undertake for generations to come than to create a permanent presence on another planet in the solar system.”
Recalling the impact of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon he said that, “The world welcomed us back as heroes. But we understood that they were [not] just cheering for three guys. It was what we represented: a nation, and the world coming together. We had accomplished the impossible and the true value of Apollo is the amazing story of innovation and teamwork that overcame many obstacles to reach the Moon.”
Buzz Aldrin earned his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at MIT and wrote his thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous. He was selected by NASA in 1963 into the third group of astronauts, and earned the nickname “Dr. Rendezvous.” The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised are still used today. He also pioneered underwater training techniques, as a substitute for zero gravity flights, to simulate spacewalking.
In 1966 on the Gemini 12 orbital mission, Buzz set an EVA record for a 5 ½ hour spacewalk. On July 20, 1969, Buzz and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. They spent 21 hours on the lunar surface and returned with 46 pounds of moon rocks. An estimated 600 million people – at that time, the world’s largest television audience in history – witnessed this unprecedented heroic endeavor.
Since retiring from NASA, Buzz has remained a proponent of human space exploration. He devised a master plan for missions to Mars known as the “Aldrin Mars Cycler”, and has received three US patents for his schematics of a modular space station, Starbooster reusable rockets, and multi-crew modules for space flight. He founded Starcraft Boosters, Inc., a rocket design company, and Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to addressing science literacy for children by igniting their passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) through delivering hands-on STEAM activities and inspirational messages.
Dr. Aldrin is an author of nine books including his New York Times best-selling autobiography entitled, “Magnificent Desolation”. He continues to inspire today’s youth with his illustrated children’s books: Reaching for the Moon, Look to the Stars, and recently released Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet. His 2013 book, “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration”, outlines his plan to get us beyond the moon and on to Mars. As one of the leading space exploration advocates, Buzz continues to chart a course for future space travel and is passionate about inspiring the younger generations of future explorers and innovators.