The Lunar Legacy, with Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin looks back at Tranquility Base. Photo by Neil Armstrong. Credit: NASA.

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About This Episode

47 years ago, mankind landed on the moon. Neil deGrasse Tyson explores the legacy of that historic mission with the second man to walk on the Moon, Apollo 11 pilot Buzz Aldrin. Helping Neil out in studio are comic co-host Iliza Shlesinger and our own StarTalk All-Stars host and former NASA astronaut, Mike Massimino. You’ll hear how Buzz Aldrin went from shooting down MiG-15s in Korea, to getting a doctorate at MIT, to setting the record for the longest spacewalk at the time during Gemini 12. Mike explains how Buzz developed the protocols for underwater astronaut training, and expands on what it takes to become an astronaut. Discover why Buzz is proud of being “the first guy to pee in his pants on the moon,” the history of “hydraulic engineering” in spacesuits from early UCDs (Urine Collection Devices) to later MAGs (Maximum Absorption Garments), and what those “fireflies” were that Mercury astronauts saw outside their windows. You’ll learn how risky the Apollo 11 mission really was – Neil reads portions of the unused speech prepared for President Richard Nixon that would have eulogized the sacrifices Neil Armstrong and Buzz made in the name of our country, should they have been stranded on the lunar surface. Find out about the impact of Sputnik on the US, why the radiation belt didn’t kill Apollo astronauts, and what’s up with people who deny we ever went to the moon at all. Plus, Chuck Nice heads to the streets to see what people today think of the moon landing, and Bill Nye takes the stage at the United Nations to talk about the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and Star Trek’s prime directive.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: The Lunar Legacy, with Buzz Aldrin and Neil’s extended interview with Buzz Aldrin here.

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  • Orion Red

    I had a nice laugh at the Buzz Aldrin comeback to Tyson’s poetic “And you see your world receding…” “We’d have been in trouble if it was getting bigger.”
    What a great deadpan response!

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