Remembering when Buzz Aldrin appeared in Little Rock

Forty-four years after being the second man to step foot on the moon, legendary astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin spoke in Little Rock. His appearance was sponsored by the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton School of Public Service.

He and Leonard David, veteran space journalist and co-author of Dr. Aldrin’s book, “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration” were in conversation in Little Rock on August 14, 2013 inside the Robinson Center Music Hall.

Aldrin was engaging, enthusiastic, opinionated and an overall wonderful speaker as he spoke about space exploration and his experiences. A video of his appearance is available here.

Selected into the NASA in 1963, Dr. Aldrin developed docking and rendezvous techniques for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit, which was critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs, and are still used today. He pioneered underwater training techniques, as a substitute for zero gravity flights, to simulate spacewalking and during the 1966 Gemini 12 mission, he preformed the first successful spacewalk. On July 20, 1969, Dr. Aldrin, along with Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world.

50 Years since the Giant Leap for Mankind

On July 20, 1969, at 3:17 pm (Little Rock time), the lunar module Eagle set down in the Sea of Tranquility on the moon. Astronaut Neil Armstrong radioed to Mission Control in Houston, “The Eagle has landed.”

At 9:39 pm, several hours ahead of schedule, Armstrong opened the hatch and started his slow descent to the lunar surface.  At 9:56 pm, he set his booted foot on the moon and uttered his now famous (and garbled) statement: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

At 10:15 pm, astronaut Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the moon.  The pair explored the surface, conducted experiments, took photos, and planted the US flag.  They also spoke with President Nixon.  Shortly after midnight on July 21, the pair returned to the Eagle.  Twelve hours later they began heading back to the Apollo 11 which was orbiting the moon piloted by astronaut Michael Collins.

Since the Arkansas Gazette was a morning paper, they did not carry the news until the morning of July 21.  Though the Arkansas Democrat was an afternoon paper, they published their Sunday edition in the morning. And since the events transpired after what would have been their afternoon deadline, their coverage did not appear until the afternoon of July 21.  (During liftoff, the Democrat got the lead on the Gazette by publishing stories on it in their July 16 edition while the Gazette had to wait until July 17.)

As expected, much of the news in those papers was about the moon landing. Even some of the other news had a lunar bent. A photo showed US soldiers in Viet Nam listening on the radio to coverage of the landing.

But there was other news going on.  Egypt and Israel were still fighting.  Indira Gandhi celebrated a political victory in India, while Spain was looking toward Prince Juan Carlos eventually becoming King upon the death or retirement of Franco (which would not come until 1975).  It was announced that Senator Ted Kennedy would be charged with leaving the scene of an accident after his wreck in Chappaquiddick which resulted in the death by drowning of his companion,  Mary Jo Kopechne.

Closer to home, the new Miss Arkansas, Marilyn Kay Allen, was adjusting to her new role.  The Arkansas Constitutional Convention continued to grind on.  The Travelers lost 4 to 1 to Amarillo on the road.

June Science after Dark celebrates 50th anniversary of first moonlanding

On July 20, 1969, man stepped on moon for the first time.

On June 27, 2019, the Museum of Discovery’s Science After Dark program will celebrate that 50th anniversary milestone  The program runs from 6pm to 9pm at the Museum.

No word on whether anyone present will be a believer that it was all a hoax staged in a TV studio.

Apollo 11 was the first crewed mission to land on the Moon.  Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were the crew for this historic mission.

Who says the Museum of Discovery is only for kids?!? Not the hundreds of 21-and-older science-and-fun lovers who attend Science After Dark each month. Because, science is fun … at any age! Science After Dark provides visitors the opportunity to have fun and learn about science in a unique setting.

Museum educators pick a science-related topic and build an entertaining, interactive evening around it. You never know what will sprout, pop, fizzle, or glow. We invite you to discover the science of having fun. Museum partners are there to serve pizza, and a full bar from craft beer to wine to cocktails is available.

And beyond the themed activities each month, Science After Dark admission ($5, free for members) includes access to all museum galleries and our 90-plus hands-on, interactive exhibits.

Tonight: “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration,” Dr. Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David

Buzz AldrinLegendary astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David, veteran space journalist and co-author of Dr. Aldrin’s new book, “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration” will be in conversation this evening at 6:00pm at Robinson Center Music Hall.

Selected into the NASA in 1963, Dr. Aldrin developed docking and rendezvous techniques for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit, which was critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs, and are still used today. He pioneered underwater training techniques, as a substitute for zero gravity flights, to simulate spacewalking and during the 1966 Gemini 12 mission, he preformed the first successful spacewalk. On July 20, 1969, Dr. Aldrin, along with Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world.

Leonard David has been reporting on space exploration for nearly five decades. Mr. David is the 2010 winner of the prestigious National Space Club Press Award, presented this honor during the Club’s annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner in April 2011 that was held in Washington, D.C. Currently, Leonard is SPACE.com’s Space Insider Columnist, as well as a correspondent for Space News newspaper and a contributing writer for several magazines, specifically Aerospace America, the membership publication of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). This program is sponsored by the Clinton Foundation and Clinton School of Public Service.

*This lecture has limited seating available. Invitation is non-transferrable. Reservations are required. Reserve your seats by emailing publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu or calling 501.683.5239.

Following the lecture, Dr. Aldrin and Leonard David will be available for a book signing of their new book, “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration.” To reserve a copy, please contact Michelle Ross at the Clinton Museum Store at mross@clintonfoundation.org or 501-748-0401.