Archive for July, 2016

George Takei, William Shatner Help NASA Celebrate Apollo 11 Anniversary

Friday, July 29th, 2016

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – A convergence of reality and science fiction took center stage here July 23 during a salute to the 47th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the 50th anniversary of the iconic “Star Trek” television show and follow-on franchise.

An audience of some 250 people took part in the evening event, which was dominated by a huge Saturn 5 moon rocket perched overhead. The occasion raised funds for Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring children to be passionate about science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.

The anniversary gala was hosted by George Takei, best known for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in the original “Star Trek” TV series and movies. [The Evolution of ‘Star Trek’ (Infographic)]

The famous Apollo 11 moon landing occurred on July 20, 1969, and the first “Star Trek” TV episode aired on Sept. 8, 1966.

Warp speed recollection

Peering out into the audience, Takei spotlighted the 363-foot-tall (111 meters) Saturn 5 booster, calling it an “amazing, amazing rocket.” But he was quick to remind Aldrin that the famous “Star Trek” spaceship USS Enterprise was far bigger — and far speedier, with the ability to reach warp speed 9.

Continuing the comparison, Takei noted that Apollo 11 crewmates Neil Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins visited just one heavenly body, adding: “You know how many we landed on? We sparkled and popped out and beamed down on hundreds of planets.”

Takei went on to explain that “science fiction and reality really are partners,” and that it took an extraordinary artist, storyteller, imagineer and producer — Gene Roddenberry — to create “Star Trek.”

“Gene imagined the unimaginable … he imagined a metaphor … he said the Starship Enterprise was a metaphor for starship Earth,” Takei said. “He populated it with people of the spirit. The strength of this starship lay in its diversity … people of different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, histories, orientations and faiths … all coming together to work as a team and working in concert. That’s what makes it possible to get out there.”

Takei recalled that 1966 was a year of two launches — that of “Star Trek” and the uncrewed, suborbital Apollo-Saturn 201 mission, which tested the Saturn 1B rocket and the Apollo command and service modules.

There was also some symmetry in 1969, Takei noted: The iconic Apollo 11 landing occurred the same year that the “Star Trek” TV series was canceled.

Beyond the horizon

The science fiction of today is going to be made real by young people, Takei said.

“Our horizon is now out in space,” he said. “It’s a much bigger — a far more vast — area of curiosity that we have.”

The goal is actually to boldly go where no one has gone before, Takei said — “to ensure that our engineers and scientists will be as boldly imaginative and creative and inventive as Gene Roddenberry was … to ensure that we all, our civilization, lives long and prospers.”

Shatner beams in

Takei had a special surprise video beamed in from one of his “Star Trek” crewmates — William Shatner, who played USS Enterprise Capt. James T. Kirk.

Shatner said he wished he could be present at the Apollo 11 anniversary event. He was in Los Angeles, tied to a previous engagement with the other starship captains of “Star Trek” celebrating the past 50 years, Shatner said.

“That’s a conundrum,” he said. “Does that mean I was in space before Buzz?”

Shatner congratulated Aldrin on the first moon landing. “It inspired me,” Shatner said, “and hundreds of millions of all the people on Earth.”

In closing, Shatner said, the Apollo 11 landing “reminds us that peaceful cooperation is possible in this world…to boldly go…on to Mars!”

Leonard David is author of “Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet,” to be published by National Geographic this October. The book is a companion to the National Geographic Channel six-part series coming in November. A longtime writer for, David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on

Neil Armstrong’s Gloves and Helmet Go Back on Display

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

orty-seven years to the day after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the surface of the moon, the National Air and Space Museum put Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit helmet and extravehicular gloves on display for the first time since 2012.

Because of their fragility, spacesuits and their components normally are kept in a cold, controlled environment. But Armstrong’s suit recently underwent conservation as part of the Museum’s extremely successful “Reboot the Suit” Kickstarter campaign. The artifacts will be on display for one year at the Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in northern Virginia.

Visitors also will be able to see Armstrong’s printed checklist, which is sewn onto the left glove gauntlet, and learn about details that came to light during the recent refurbishment. Armstrong’s right glove, for instance, shows a number of dark spots. After analyzing written records and examining the glove under a microscope, the Museum staff determined that the spots are lunar dust, caught in snags on the glove. Before the flight, if a snag occurred in the fabric, engineers painted the threads with adhesive. Lunar dust, which is very sharp and angular, could have then embedded in that coating when Armstrong walked on the moon, says Lisa Young, one of the Museum’s conservators.

There’s another possibility: When the spacesuit returned from flight, engineers applied adhesive over the lunar dust in order to preserve it. Curators and conservation staff will soon be able to determine what actually happened: “We now have the pre-flight discrepancy reports,” says Young. Using those, they’ll be able to match each snag and adhesive coating on the glove.

Meanwhile, other teams have been busy scanning and digitizing the interior of the Apollo 11 command module. You can read about their work here or explore the 3D model for yourself below:

Read the Original Article at Air & Space Smithsonian

Buzz Aldrin’s first Facebook Live session remembers Apollo 11

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Buzz Aldrin's first FB Live
#Apollo11 Anniversary

Posted by Buzz Aldrin on Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the surface of the moon. Today, to commemorate that anniversary, Aldrin made his first delightful foray into Facebook Live to share his memories of that momentous occasion.

In the one-hour session, he and his daughter Jan shared anecdotes and memories, and his hopes for the future.

Highlights include Jan recounting how she couldn’t hug her father when he came home because the astronauts had been quarantined; her faith in the space program; paparazzi climbing over the fence to photograph the Aldrin family; Buzz revealing that the reason there are so many photographs of him on the moon is because Armstrong had the camera; and detailing his hopes for humans travelling to Mars in the future.

“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” he said.

Read the Original Article at Tags: , ,
Posted in 2010s, Archives, Recent Articles |

How Buzz Aldrin Used A Felt-Tip Pen To Get Back From The Moon

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Buzz Aldrin's first FB Live
#Apollo11 Anniversary

Posted by Buzz Aldrin on Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Buzz Aldrin took his most famous step almost five decades ago, when he followed fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong out of their lunar module to become the first humans to set foot on the moon.

On Wednesday, the 86-year-old celebrated the the 47th anniversary of their Apollo 11 mission by stepping out on Facebook Live for the first time to talk about his ideas for the future of space exploration ― and to reminisce a bit.

Speaking with his daughter, Jan, Aldrin shared his memories of the mission, including the ingenious way he tried to fix a circuit-breaker that threatened to block their return to Earth.

“I used a felt-tip pen and pushed it in, and Houston says, ‘Hooray, we got a live circuit!’” Aldrin recalled. “Then we were ready to proceed with the countdown.”

Aldrin and Armstrong arrived on the moon on July 20, 1969, and took their first steps the next day. They returned to Earth on July 24, 1969, splashing down with the third member of their crew, Michael Collins, in the Pacific Ocean about 800 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii.

Read the Original Article at The Huffington Post

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin looks back at historic career in new book

Saturday, July 16th, 2016


Astronaut Buzz Aldrin looks back at historic career in his new book “No Dream is Too High: Life Lessons from a man who walked on the Moon.”

See this video at CBS News