More than 50 years ago, on July 20, 1969, Aldrin joined Neil Armstrong on NASA’s Apollo 11 mission to put the first two men on the Moon. The pair made history when they stepped foot on the lunar surface, bringing an end to the Space Race by burying the US Flag in the surface after Armstrong delivered his legendary “one small step” speech. They then ran a number of experiments, collecting samples from the Moon’s surface in the process, as an iconic photo shows.
The picture, which is actually of Aldrin and not Armstrong, contrary to public belief, encapsulates the iconic moment, as Armstrong can be seen in the visor, along with the Moon’s surface and the lunar lander Eagle.
Aldrin said in 2016: “Neil was such an excellent photographer.
“I was walking along like this and he said ‘hey, stop,’ so I looked at him and he took the picture right away.
“You can identify that I was still moving a little bit, but people ask me about it because it’s so well staged.
Buzz Aldrin reflects on the iconic photo
Buzz Aldrin with Brian Cox
People ask me about it because it’s so well staged
“We call it the visor picture because the reflection in the visor shows the landing craft and it shows the white-suited astronaut, Neil, who took the picture.
“You can see my shadow moving out, so we call it the visor picture.”
But Aldrin revealed the real reason why he thought the photo has become so popular.
He added: “People have asked me why it is such an iconic picture and I’ve got three words: location, location, location.
“We certainly knew that the pressure was going to be on us to be on to do that, of course, to all of us, the most important thing about that mission was to make the landing.
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Apollo 11 happened more than 50 years ago
“If you don’t make the landing, you can’t go outside, you have to do it again, but that’s not the way the press and the media see it.
“The most important thing is opening the hatch, and that was easy, but there was some controversy because it was the first time that two people were going to go out.”
Aldrin then spoke of the pressures that the Apollo 11 crew felt during the mission and how it was decided Armstrong would be the first man on the Moon.
He continued: “Previously, on all other spacewalks, the commander was so occupied training for the very complex things he had to do and make decisions, so generally the experiments were given to the pilot, NASA doesn’t like that word co-pilot, but the pilot always did the spacewalking.
“For a number of reasons it was decided that the customary thing would be that the commander does the leading of his troops and he should be the one symbolically to go down and that was the way it was decided.
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Neil Armstrong in the Eagle
“The experiment still should have been overseen by the junior, me, but that isn’t the way it worked out because Neil was down there first and I followed him down.
“If you put a person out there and he was to have some trouble, the best thing is to have somebody right behind him, not somebody back up in the spacecraft.
“If the spacecraft is flying, then you might have to move the spacecraft to pick him up, or suddenly be the boss, the person in charge.”
Professor Cox has previously been asked to give his view on whether the Moon landings were possibly faked.
Unearthed footage from 2008 shows the moment a BBC producer asked him for his opinion on the claims during the filming of the “What on Earth is Wrong with Gravity?” series.
He said: “There are so many things that you could talk about, you could talk about, oh I don’t know, f*** it!
“It’s b******s, the Moon landings happened and it’s nonsensical to claim otherwise.
“It’s like saying America was never discovered, well yes it was.
“Did we discover penicillin? Yes. Did we go to the Moon? Yes.”
Dr Cox was stunned at being asked such a question during a factual documentary.
He added: “That’s the evidence, there’s no need for the information content or use for debating it anymore.
Moon landing timeline
“I don’t even accept that it needs proving, because you would have to be a complete moron to think it.
“Are you really suggesting that in this programme, a scientific documentary programme about gravity, you are going to mention the Moon landings being faked?”’
Asked if he read the script for the show, Dr Cox replied: “No, does it say something about the Moon landings?”
The producer then revealed: “We’re going to the McDonald observatory.
“The script has a comedy throwaway line, I’m not saying it didn’t happen, there’s a line [you’re supposed to say] ‘of course it happened and we’re going to fire a laser at the Moon to show you’.”