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Buzz Aldrin launches campaign for sharing moon-landing tales

One of history's most famous astronauts backs a social-media effort to collect stories about the Apollo 11 moon landing, and takes to Reddit to promote manned Mars missions.

Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon
Buzz Aldrin on the moon. NASA

I didn't exist back in 1969 when the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon and astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the lunar surface. But I've seen the footage countless times, heard the famous words Armstrong spoke, and listened to the memories of people who watched it happen. We're approaching the 45th anniversary of the moon landing on July 20. To celebrate, Aldrin is promoting a social-media campaign to share memories of the event.

The #Apollo45 campaign asks a simple question: "Where were you when Apollo 11 landed on the moon?" The project intends to share videos from astronauts, celebrities, and other public figures. It also invites the less famous to share videos with their own stories or those of family members and friends. An introductory video shows snippets from Neil deGrasse Tyson, Wolfgang Puck, J.J. Abrams, and Tom Hanks, among others.

Aldrin showed up on Reddit for an AMA session, fielding questions about his experiences as an astronaut and what he sees for the future of space exploration. He is looking ahead to future manned missions, saying "the next monumental achievement of humanity will be the first landing by an Earthling, a human being, on the planet Mars."

Aldrin doesn't see a place in the space program for another human mission to the moon. "Returning to the moon with NASA astronauts is not the best usage of our resources," he says. Instead, he promotes the idea of building and maintaining human habitations and laboratories on Mars.

The topic of favorite space movies came up, with Aldrin responding, "I thought that the movie 'Gravity,' the depiction of people moving around in zero gravity, was really the best I have seen." He also fielded some silly questions, such as what his favorite cheese is. For the record, it's American cheese. When it comes to music, he enjoys Karen Carpenter. "I have heard Frank Sinatra sing 'Fly me to the Moon' almost too many times. So I'm interested in composing a new song, entitled "Get your ass to Mars!" says Aldrin.

The world will spend this month looking back on and celebrating the 45th anniversary of the moon landing. Aldrin will be participating through the #Apollo45 project, but it's clear that his heart is still out among the stars, encouraging the next generations of space explorers.