The world is celebrating International Moon Day today. It was on this day in 1969 that Nasa’s Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Buzz Aldrin was the second person to walk on Earth’s only natural satellite. The Apollo 11 mission was the most anticipated space mission of the 20th century that took eight days to complete.

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Buzz Aldrin was born in a small town called Glen Ridge in New Jersey’s Essex County. His fascination with fighter planes made him follow a journey toward his dream to become a US Air Force jet fighter pilot. After flying 66 combat missions Aldrin went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to earn his Doctor of Science degree in astronautics. Nasa selected him as a member of its Astronaut Group 3. Aldrin was the first Nasa astronaut with a doctoral degree.

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Aldrin was part of Nasa’s Gemini 12 mission in 1966 which was also his first ever space mission. Three years later he set foot on the moon at 03:15:16 on July 21, 1969 (UTC). He left Nasa in 1971 and became the commandant of the US Air Force Test Pilot School. He retired from the Air Force in 1972 at the age of 42.

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Aldrin was given the nickname “Dr. Rendezvous’’ for his doctoral thesis on Line-of-Sight Guidance Techniques for Manned Orbital Rendezvous.

As a member of the Mars Society’s steering committee Aldrin has been one of the key advocates of Mars exploration. He developed the Aldrin Cycler, a special spacecraft trajectory that makes travel to Mars more efficient with regards to time and propellant.

The 92-year-old former Nasa astronaut is the oldest living member of the Apollo 11 mission.