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Moon man Aldrin eyes India for space mission

Category : World |  Posted Date : 12/01/2013

TOI NEW YORK: Buzz Aldrin, the legendary astronaut who along with Neil Armstrong boarded the historic Apollo 11 in 1969 to become the first to set foot on the moon, is now on a new kind of mission . The American hero wants to bring Englishspeaking countries together to improve efforts on space exploration.

To begin with, the rocket scientist, who turns 83 on January 20, is keen on meeting India's former president APJ Abdul Kalam. Aldrin believes US and India can cooperate on solar dynamics and experiment on energy conservation differently.

"I was looking to talk to Abdul Kalam about solar power for energy conservation . I would like to arrange a meeting of someone that I know and also improve the cooperation between US and India, and to bring the English speaking countries together . This is not for anything specific like global warming or the environment or peace, well that's ok, but this is for space leadership by the active cooperation among English speaking nations," Aldrin told TOI in an exclusive interview in New York in connection with his association with Axe Apollo Space Academy that plans to send 22 people into space next year.

Dressed in attire fit for a rocket scientist, Aldrin, whose space vision is to generate the next wave of human exploration, believes the pioneers who begin to establish human permanence in the solar system would be recognized for their efforts for a long time. He said the solar system offers a great opportunity for expanding human permanence and the world leader who makes a commitment for making this happen should know that he would be recognized "for thousands of years" .

Aldrin's concern for the need to renew efforts directed at space exploration is understandable . After all, there have been few human feats as momentous as the moon landing some 43 years ago. "It would have been nice to have the resources to take the commitment forward, but we really didn't have those," he said.

Not surprisingly, since retiring from Nasa Aldrin has been at it, trying hard to ensure America's continued leadership in space explorations . He even devised a master plan for missions to Mars, creating the 'Aldrin Mars Cylinder', a spacecraft transportation system with perpetual cycling orbits between Earth and Mars.

But the man who described the moon as "beautiful magnificent desolation" doesn't quite remember the first few thoughts that ran across his mind when he first set foot on it. "I don't quite remember," he smiled, adding, "there was a ladder (of the Eagle Lander) and you could either go up or down. Going up would mean going backwards."

If there's one thing, though, that doesn't perturb the 'second man on the moon' , it is whether he was first or not on it. "Forget about no. 2, what about no.3? I really don't think that a biography written of Neil Armstrong should be entitled "first man" . It degrades the rest of us for no reason," Aldrin said.

Aldrin's message to the new generation is simple: "Every one of us here on earth are human beings different from others with strengths and weaknesses. And they must accept (that) and do the best they can to serve other people."

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