At a table near the cell-phone chargers, Buzz Aldrin, the world's third-favorite moonwalker, was still going strong, looking fresh and fit in his dapper suit and talking space.
July 20 marks the 40th anniversary of the day Aldrin and Neil Armstrong proved once and for all that the moon isn't made of cheese, and Aldrin had a couple things to say. One, buy his second autobiography, Magnificent Desolation, which came out last month (so did this rap video with Snoop Dogg!). And two, NASA needs to get its space groove back.
Aldridge used the phrase "magnificent desolation" to describe the moon as he walked its surface ("It's a very difficult place to set up housekeeping, really," he says), and it reminds him of how far mankind had come that day. It also makes him think of how complacent we've become since.
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"We should shift our path to something more exciting," he says. "Long-duration life-support systems that can go out further, year-long missions ..."
Aldrin thinks the next goal should be an unmanned landing on the Mars moon Phobos (which could, way down the line, lead to a manned landing there). Such a mission, he says, could recapture the popular imagination, and renew the push to boldly go places man hasn't gone before.
"Yeah," Aldrin says. "Like Star Trek."
Aldrin was contractually prohibited from accommodating autograph-seekers at the Radio Shack, but he'll be signing this evening at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts (only books purchased there, though).