Buzz Aldrin

CIW Speaker Buzz Aldrin Wants Everyone to Celebrate #Apollo45

Summer is the busy season for CIW 2013 speaker Buzz Aldrin—or the “global statesman for space,” as he calls himself.  The Apollo 11 astronaut is gearing up for the 45th anniversary of the moon landing this Sunday, July 20, leading a social media campaign asking individuals to upload their memories of the moon landing to YouTube.

Buzz Aldrin took the CIW stage in 2013.

So far, celebrities from Tom Hanks, Pharrell Williams and John Travolta to Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Colbert and Bill Nye have participated.  But Aldrin wants this “tremendous list of people” to grow to include all Americans who vividly remember the moon landing.  The campaign is, after all, inspired by Aldrin’s everyday experiences as an American icon:  He’s stopped daily by people who want to share their experience on July 20, 1969.  Individuals can upload video memories to YouTube and written remembrances on Twitter or Facebook using #Apollo45.

Aldrin is thrilled that Americans still relish in their memories of that historic moment.  “We always need to keep remembering in some specific way,” Aldrin said.  For the month of July, his Twitter @TheRealBuzz and the hashtag #Apollo45 will serve as running logs of America’s memories.
Aldrin aims not just to push Americans to look back to the 1960s and 1970s when the U.S. held “the number one position in space,” but also stresses that it’s crucial that we consider the future.  He worries that many young Americans are plagued by information overload and “short-term thinking.”  Aldrin, on the other hand, focuses on longer-term goals.  He’s already looking ahead to the campaign celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in 2019 and even beyond that, urges the U.S. to spearhead “international permanence” on Mars—a goal he has stated that he thinks NASA can reach by 2040.  He believes that the space travel renaissance will involve collaboration across international borders, citing China–U.S. relations as key.
“Mankind…has always looked outward to explore what’s on the other side of the ocean,” he explained of the motivation behind space travel, adding, “I think people will be enthusiastic about recovering our space program from some decisions that haven’t been as good as they could have been.”
Aldrin certainly is enthusiastic about that mission, with his hands-on approach to the #Apollo45 social campaign and upcoming international trips in his role as a global statesman.

“It’s going to be quite active between now and the end of the month,” the 84-year-old astronaut admitted.

Erin Robertson is managing editor at Chicago Ideas.

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