The suspense had been building for 24 hours: would Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, show up Wednesday night in Huntsville, Alabama — nicknamed “Rocket City” for the nearby NASA space flight center?
Public appearances by the former astronaut, now 89, are rare. On Tuesday, he left his former Apollo 11 crewmate Michael Collins in the lurch.
Aldrin declined to join him at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the two were supposed to appear together on NASA TV to mark the 50th anniversary of their mission (Neil Armstrong died in 2012).
But at 6.45 pm, Colonel Aldrin appeared in Huntsville’s majestic Space & Rocket Center, dressed in a blue windowpane-checked suit, an American flag tie — and star-spangled socks.
“Thank you,” he said to the dinner attendees who surrounded him, but at a respectful distance. Faced with such an iconic figure, the crowd controlled itself.
He intermittently drops tense smiles, “hello’s” and “okay’s” to the admirers who dare to approach him. Word gets around that he’s not signing autographs, but people sneak selfies as he walks past.
One of the event organizers takes advantage of his role as Aldrin’s guide and asks him to pose for a photo with his family — a true privilege. Tickets to the event started at $395.
“It’s such an honor,” Kentucky lieutenant governor Jenean Hampton tells Aldrin. The astronaut doesn’t really respond.
Throughout the walk to his seat — around a hundred yards — Aldrin holds his girlfriend Anca Faur’s hand tightly. Visibly winded, he pauses several times to catch his breath, a hand gripping the backs of chairs.
Once seated, Faur points to the massive Saturn V rocket hanging above their heads, spanning the length of the hall. “Where were you?” she asks him.
He points to the tip, the tiny capsule that took him to the Moon and back.
– Buzz and Mars –
Former astronauts have strong opinions on the delays and revisions of the American space program since the Apollo mission. In 50 years, no one has returned to the Moon, and Mars seems an even less attainable dream.
When he finally stepped up to the podium, Buzz did not miss the opportunity to lecture his audience, which consisted of American elected officials from states linked to the aerospace industry.
“Many of us who followed Neil may still feel we are waiting for that giant leap after landing on the Moon,” he said, switching between jokes, slightly confusing technical reflections and critiques of NASA.
He also poked fun at the Orion capsule, which will carry the next astronauts but won’t be able to maneuver around the Moon much. For 50 years of progress, he noted, that was “not very good.”
“What is needed now for our country is the next step space alliance — that’s the gathering together of the capable entities, space agencies and other contributors,” he said.
“Then we can all put together what is really needed (financially) to get to Mars.”
After half an hour, one man asked Aldrin what he had to say to people who doubted he had actually walked on the Moon.
“Join the crowd that’s going to charge into Area 51,” he replied, referring to the million people who replied to a Facebook event saying they would storm the desert research facility, which supposedly has aliens inside.
“Maybe you’ll find out there,” he said. And then he finished his speech with a military salute.
“Amazing,” the host noted, after Aldrin left the stage.
‘Why do we need camo in space’: Trump’s Space Force ridiculed for woodland camouflage uniforms
On Friday, the United States Space Force released an image of their new uniforms on Twitter.
The image shows a Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) for a four-star general in a woodland camouflage pattern, with a matching camo nametape.
However, many people were confused as to why the Space Force would use uniforms designed to blend in on earth.
Here's some of what people were saying:
Sorry for the question but why do we need camo in space?
BUSTED: National Archives caught doctoring exhibit to remove criticism of President Trump from women
The National Archives were caught editing an artifact from the Trump administration to remove criticism of the president, according to a bombshell new report in The Washington Post.
The newspaper reported on a "large color photograph" at the National Archives exhibit marking the centennial of women's suffrage.
"The 49-by-69-inch photograph is a powerful display. Viewed from one perspective, it shows the 2017 march. Viewed from another angle, it shifts to show a 1913 black-and-white image of a women’s suffrage march also on Pennsylvania Avenue. The display links momentous demonstrations for women’s rights more than a century apart on the same stretch of pavement. But a closer look reveals a different story," the newspaper noted.
Dershowitz is running a ‘bizarro defense’ of Trump: Harvard Law colleague says ‘Alan is just completely wacko’
Two of the most famous names associated with Harvard Law School had competing appearances on MSNBC on Friday.
It began when Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus, was interviewed MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber about his new role officially representing President Donald Trump during the Senate impeachment trial.
Dershowitz claimed that neither abuse of power nor obstruction of Congress count as "high crimes" under the constitution.
Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has also been associated with Harvard Law for five decades, was asked about Dershowitz's argument during an interview with Chris Hayes.