46 years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second person to ever set foot on the moon.
Buzz’s real name: Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. “Buzz” came from his sister Fay Ann. She often mispronounced the word “brother” as “buzzer” back when they were growing up. Their relatives shortened this to “Buzz” and the nickname stuck. Aldrin legally changed his first name to Buzz in the 1980s.
His mother’s maiden name: Moon.
In 1963, he earned a doctorate in Astronautics from MIT, joined NASA, and soon after participated in the 1966 Gemini XII mission. On that flight, he set a new record for “extravehicular activity” in space: Buzz worked outside of a spacecraft for two hours and six minutes.
Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon first during the 1969 Apollo 11 flight. He said something about “one small step,” but what were Buzz’s first words on the moon? “Beautiful view, magnificent desolation.”
After their arrival, the astronauts were supposed to get some sleep. As Buzz later recalled in his autobiography: “We’d just landed on the moon and there was a lot of adrenaline still zinging through our bodies. Telling us to sleep was like telling kids on Christmas morning they had to stay in bed until noon!” Armstrong got permission from Mission Control to cancel that nap.
In 2002, conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel met with the astronaut at a hotel to supposedly film a segment for a Japanese TV show. When Buzz realized he’d been duped into participating in a documentary about whether or not the moon landing was a hoax, he left. Sibrel and his camera crew followed them to the lobby and continued bombarding Buzz with questions. That’s when the astronaut lost his cool and punched the Sibrel in the face.