What was it like to go to the moon in 1969? We asked Buzz Aldrin

Twenty-five years after the moon landing, Buzz Aldrin told CBC about his memories from the events of July 20, 1969.

Famed astronaut recalls the 'magnificent desolation' of the lunar surface

Buzz Aldrin recalls reaching the moon

28 years ago
Duration 0:29
Buzz Aldrin recalls his first impressions of the moon.

A quarter-century after the moon landing, astronaut Buzz Aldrin could easily recall the words that came to mind for him when he first saw the lunar surface up close.

"Magnificent desolation," he told CBC's Midday on the 25th anniversary of the historic mission that saw humans set foot on the moon for the first time.

Buzz Aldrin was the second person to walk on the moon. (The Associated Press)

For Aldrin, the phrase summed up a contrast of sorts between "the magnificence of our achievement and our accomplishment... and the utter desolation of the surface that we were on," he said.

The second man on the moon

As the world remembers well, it was fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong who first stepped onto the moon on July 20, 1969. But Aldrin also walked on its surface on that same mission.

Both Armstrong and Aldrin spent two hours walking on the surface itself and around 20 hours on the moon in total, while their colleague Michael Collins stayed in orbit in the command module. 

Two hours walking on the moon

28 years ago
Duration 0:33
Buzz Aldrin talks about his time on the moon and his faith in the equipment that brought him there.

When describing his moon mission to Midday, Aldrin repeatedly referred to the many technical considerations that were part of each step of the journey.

But Aldrin said he and his fellow astronauts never doubted the equipment that had brought them to the moon would bring them back home.

"I wouldn't say we ever really had anything like that," said Aldrin.

Buzz Aldrin (left), Neil Armstrong (centre) and Michael Collins (right) are seen in this 1969 file photo. (The Associated Press)

Aldrin said that he remained grateful for the chance to do something that had never been done before.

He also was appreciative of the support that Canadians had expressed over the years.

Gratitude for Canadian support

28 years ago
Duration 1:01
Buzz Aldrin talks about the support Canadians had shown for space exploration over the years.

The journey that Aldrin and the Apollo 11 astronauts made inspired people all around the world, including many Canadians, young and old alike.