Buzz Aldrin: To the Moon and Back


By: Nathan Chandler

4 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Not many people can say that they've survived a war and then walked on the surface of the moon -- but that's exactly what Buzz Aldrin did. He competed with the best men in the Air Force to become one of America's first astronauts. And then he and two other men made history. How much do you know about the man they call "Buzz"?

Why did NASA reject Aldrin's first application for the astronaut program?

NASA originally wanted only test pilots who had flown all sorts of crazy machines -- and Aldrin had never been a test pilot. NASA later waived that requirement and Aldrin's application was accepted.


What was Aldrin's job during the Apollo 11 mission?

Aldrin was designated pilot of the lunar module. It was commander Neil Armstrong who actually flew the craft to the lunar surface, though.


Before embarking on the Apollo 11 adventure, how many times had Aldrin flown on space missions?

Aldrin, like both other men on Apollo 11, had only one previous space mission before heading to the moon. He'd been part of the Gemini 12 mission in 1966.


Buzz was a fighter pilot in the Air Force. What rank did he earn?

Aldrin was a West Point graduate determined to scale the ranks. He climbed to colonel thanks to his dedication and heroics.


Aldrin flew actual combat missions during which war?

Aldrin was no desk jockey. He flew nearly 70 combat missions and shot down two enemy fighters while he was in the Vietnam War.


Neil Armstrong was the first man to step onto the moon's surface. How long did it take Aldrin to join him?

After Armstrong was safely out of the module and had completed some basic tasks, Aldrin finally joined him -- about 20 minutes later.


Aldrin was the second person to walk on the moon. But he was first to do what?

When you gotta go, you gotta go. Aldrin was the first human ever to pee while on the moon's surface. Of course, he peed using his space suit's special waste disposal system, not on the actual moon surface.


What other first did Aldrin accomplish on the moon?

Buzz was known to have religious leanings, and he made plans for a short ceremony before exiting the lunar module. He took a brief communion complete with wine.


During the Gemini 12 mission, Aldrin set a then-record for what?

Aldrin left the craft on multiple spacewalks, for a total of more than five hours, which was then a record. Astronauts working in zero gravity are subject to serious fatigue but Buzz was able to fight off the tiredness.


How old was Buzz when he took his first flight?

Buzz was just a 2-year-old toddler when his father piloted a plane that took Buzz to the skies for the first time. Flying became a lifelong passion for the younger Aldrin.


Buzz is Aldrin's legal first name.

His given name was Edwin Eugene, but his childhood nickname of "Buzz" became synonymous with the man and his legend. So in the 80s, he adopted Buzz as his legal name.


Aldrin was sometimes called which nickname?

Aldrin was a master of understanding the dynamics behind docking two vehicles in motion. Thus, the nickname Dr. Rendezvous.


In high school, Buzz was obssessed with which sport?

Aldrin was head-over-heels for football, to the point that it was hurting his education. His parents finally forced him to give up the gridiron and focus on developing his mind.


Aldrin's mother's maiden name was "Moon."

Truth is always stranger than fiction. His mother's maiden name really was Moon, a place that would land her son in the pages of history.


What happened to Aldrin's mother shortly before Apollo 11?

Marion was incredibly anxious about her son's impending mission -- and the fame that would follow. She committed suicide just before Apollo 11.


Buzz went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a doctorate in which subject?

He quickly earned a doctorate in astronautics, which explores the technologies and concepts behind manned space travel.


Aldrin's celebrity landed him many media gigs. On which of the following TV shows did he NOT appear?

"Breaking Bad" probably wouldn't have been good for his image, but Buzz his been on many other programs, and movies, too. Appropriately, he was in "Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon."


Buzz was the first astronaut to use a specific technique for spacewalk training. What technique was it?

He was the first astronaut to don scuba diving gear in preparation for the weightlessness of spacewalks. The tactic went a long way towards honing his abilities for extravehicular activities.


For his career, Buzz logged how many hours worth of spacewalks?

On his two NASA missions, Aldrin logged about 8 total hours in spacewalks, which took extraordinary nerves and exceptional physical conditioning.


After the Apollo 11 landing, Aldrin remained close friends with both of the other astronauts.

The three astronauts were never friends and once their professional duties were over they rarely communicated. All three had very different personalities.


Buzz made a music video with which rapper?

For a song called "Rocket Experience," Buzz worked with Snoop Dogg and other rappers such as Soulja Boy and Talib Kweli.


Everyone knows Armstrong's first words during the moonwalk. But what were Aldrin's first words after he stepped out of the lunar module?

Aldrin's words are less known than Armstrong's, but they were equally poetic: "Beautiful view. Magnificent desolation."


Following his heroics with NASA, Aldrin suffered from which problem?

After NASA, Aldrin lost his sense of purpose, which lead to depression and then alcoholism. He eventually sought help and made a significant recovery.


Depression nearly ruined Aldrin's career. He went from walking on the moon to what job?

Aldrin's drinking ruined two marriages and sent his career into a spiral. He was so broke at one point that he started selling cars for a living.


What kind of cars was Aldrin selling?

Buzz didn't land at just any car dealership. He was selling Cadillacs in Beverly Hills. And he never sold a single vehicle.


In 2002, a moon conspiracy theorist tricked Aldrin into appearing on camera and called the former astronaut a fraud. How did Buzz respond?

Aldrin was infuriated that the man had duped him … and that he continued to follow Buzz when he tried to walk away. Aldrin punched the man right in the face.


The punching incident was captured on camera. What happened to Aldrin after he slugged the conspiracy theorist?

After the police saw the recording, they decided that Aldrin had been provoked. No charges were filed.


The Apollo 11 landing is still the most-watched TV broadcast in human history. How many people watched Armstrong and Aldrin leap about the moon's surface?

Estimates vary, but at least 530 million people watched in awe as astronauts walked on the moon. It was a defining moment in human history.


In December 2016, where did Aldrin nearly die?

Aldrin, ever the explorer, joined a tour group bound for Antarctica, where he came down with terrible pneumonia. The 86-year-old man had to be evacuated to a hospital, where he recovered.


In his later years, Buzz has taken up which space-related cause?

For years, Buzz has bemoaned the lack of progress towards a manned mission to Mars. He continually presses authorities and businesspeople to take real action on what he thinks is humankind's next big space adventure.


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