Last weekend as an early birthday present Julie took me up to Leicester to the National Space Centre where they had a special guest signing books; Buzz Aldrin (second man on the moon, for those of you not in the know). The event was in support of the Kalpana Chawla Foundation.
What Julie had also sorted out was a ticket to the invite only Q&A session with him prior to the book signing.
After Buzz’s rather lengthy introduction (unanticipated by the master of ceremonies, I believe), I managed to get the first question in: "The Apollo programme was cut short before it was completed – what’s going to be different this time round to ensure continued exploration of the Moon and Mars?"
Dr Aldrin’s answer was, in short, "education" to inform people why the science and exploration is valuable and to make the programme less sensational and more engaging in the long term. But Buzz took about 10 minutes to say this. On conclusion of his answer the MC said: "We have time for one more question." Oops.
Buzz is a verbose individual, and why not? He’s got a lot to talk about. He’s pretty vocal in his disappointment of the shuttle programme, and possibly a little cold-war-esque in his attitude to competing with Asian space programmes (though outside of the Q&A he was a bit more hippy-esque on the topic). But his overriding mission is to evangelise space exploration, and he does it well.
The Q&A session was followed by me being interviewed by the local paper too! Fame.
I had a great day all in all, and it was humbling to shake the hand of a guy who walked on the moon.