Neil Armstrong was wrong – the moon was never “beautiful” according to the man who followed him onto the lunar surface.
Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon on 21 July 1969 reveals in an interview with Sir David Frost that he did not agree with the Neil Armstrong when he said it was “beautiful”.
“Neil had an optimistic way of using the word ‘beautiful.’ But when I looked out, it wasn’t beautiful. It was desolate,” Aldrin reveals in the interview which airs tomorrow [Friday] on the al-Jazeera channel.
Aldrin describes the lunar surface as “totally lifeless” adding: “Really, not much – except shades of grey and a black horizon. It was magnificent but it’s not very habitable – very lifeless.”
David Frost’s new series of interviews begins by showing the moon landings, aided by running commentary from Aldrin 44 years on.
Aldrin also muses on the debate about whether Armstrong prepared his “one small step for man” line, revealing that Armstrong told Aldrin, just prior to disembarking, that he did know what he was going to say.
“We didn’t know whether he’d prepared that ahead of time. As a matter of fact, Mike said, ‘What are you gonna say when you get down… when we get down to the surface?’ He [Armstrong] said, “Well, let’s get there first, and I, and I’ll think of…” Of course, we had a good bit o’ time getting ready. Several hours.”
In the interview, Aldrin reflects on being a fighter pilot in Korea during the 1950s and discusses his battles with depression.
He also expresses enthusiasm for Mars exploration, despite the cost.
“What did we have in the sixties and seventies?” he says. “Undisputed leadership in the world in technology, as exhibited by the Apollo Programme, and many people were inspired to get into high technology jobs, and look at what Silicon Valley has done. The advance of computers. We lead the world…and in these hard economic times, we need to inspire people.”
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.