Science

Buzz Aldrin recovering in hospital after reaching South Pole

Former American astronaut Buzz Aldrin was taken by plane from the South Pole to New Zealand after falling ill while he was on a visit with a tour group.

Former astronaut, 2nd to walk on the moon in 1969, was in Antarctica as part of a private tour group

Buzz Aldrin was flown out of Antarctica to New Zealand on Thursday for medical reasons. His condition was listed as stable. (Buzz Aldrin/Apollo45/YouTube)

Former American astronaut Buzz Aldrin was taken by plane from Antarctica to New Zealand on Thursday after falling ill while he was on a visit with a tour group.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provided a "humanitarian medical evacuation" from Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to McMurdo Station, which then put Aldrin, 86, on the flight to New Zealand. 

In a release, the NSF said Aldrin was a member of a private tour group run by White Desert. 

The group said Aldrin's condition had "deteriorated." White Desert said he was put on the first available flight out of the region "as a precaution." Later in the day, they issued an update saying that his condition was stable, but that he had experienced fluid in his lungs.

His manager Christina Korp, who accompanied him, said he was in good spirits.

As Aldrin recovers, she said on Twitter, "I did want to let people know that he did make it to the South Pole which was his objective. Thnx for prayers!"

The process of getting Aldrin from Amundsen to Christchurch was grueling, she said.

Aldrin had been sending Twitter messages ahead of his trip. On Sunday, he jokingly tweeted: "I could be a little underdressed for Antarctica. Although I tend to be hot blooded."

Aldrin was part of the Apollo 11 mission, the first space trip sending humans to the moon. He was accompanied by fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong, who took the first steps on the moon on July 21, 1969. Minutes later, Aldrin became the second.

Most recently, Aldrin has been an outspoken advocate of humans colonizing Mars and in favour of commercial space exploration. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Mortillaro

Senior Reporter, Science

Nicole has an avid interest in all things science. As an amateur astronomer, Nicole can be found looking up at the night sky appreciating the marvels of our universe. She is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the author of several books.

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