Moon­walker Buzz Aldrin sta­ble af­ter South Pole health scare

Med­i­cally evac­u­ated from South Pole

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH -

WELLING­TON: Re­tired astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the sec­ond man to walk on the Moon, was re­cov­er­ing in a New Zealand hospi­tal yes­ter­day af­ter be­ing med­i­cally evac­u­ated from the South Pole while on a tourist trip, his man­age­ment said.

Aldrin, 86, was “evac­u­ated on the first avail­able flight out” af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing health prob­lems, said a state­ment from Antarc­tic tour op­er­a­tor White Desert. It said Aldrin-later found to have fluid on his lungs-was flown out af­ter his “con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rated”, de­scrib­ing the move as “a pre­cau­tion.”

An up­date on Aldrin’s web­site said he was taken to Christchurch, New Zealand, where he was re­ceiv­ing hospi­tal treat­ment. “(He) cur­rently has fluid in his lungs but is re­spond­ing well to an­tibi­otics and be­ing kept in overnight for ob­ser­va­tion,” it said. “His con­di­tion is sta­ble and his man­ager, who is cur­rently with him, de­scribed him be­ing in good spirits.”

Aldrin’s man­age­ment also tweeted a photograph of the space­man smil­ing and look­ing alert in his hospi­tal bed. His ill­ness in the re­mote frozen con­ti­nent sparked a 4,400 kilo­me­ter (2,700 mile) mercy dash. First, the US Na­tional Sci­ence Foun­da­tion dis­patched a hu­man­i­tar­ian med­i­cal flight to the Amund­sen-Scott South Pole Sta­tion.

From there, an­other flight took Aldrin to McMurdo Sta­tion on the Antarc­tic coast, and then to New Zealand, where he ar­rived at 4:25 am lo­cal time Fri­day. “Af­ter a gru­el­ing 24 hours we’re safe in New Zealand,” his man­ager Christina Korp tweeted.

‘Here I come’

In 1969, Aldrin and Neil Arm­strong be­came the first men to walk on the Moon, as part of the Apollo 11 mis­sion. Arm­strong stepped out of the lu­nar mod­ule first, ut­ter­ing the now fa­mous words, “That’s one small step for man, one gi­ant leap for mankind.” Aldrin, clad in a bulky white space­suit, hopped out next. “Beau­ti­ful, beau­ti­ful. Mag­nif­i­cent des­o­la­tion,” Aldrin said on July 20, 1969.

In re­cent years, he has au­thored books for adults and chil­dren and ad­vo­cated es­tab­lish­ing a per­ma­nent hu­man colony on Mars. Aldrin is an avid user of Twit­ter, and tweeted in re­cent days about his trip to the South Pole. “I could be a lit­tle un­der­dressed for Antarc­tica. Al­though I tend to be hot blooded,” he wrote on Novem­ber 27, post­ing a pic­ture of him­self wear­ing a black and red Mars shirt. “South Pole, here I come!” he wrote a day later.

Born in Mont­clair, New Jersey on Jan­uary 20, 1930, Aldrin was ed­u­cated at the pres­ti­gious West Point mil­i­tary academy in New York state. He joined the US Air Force and flew 66 com­bat mis­sions in the Korean War, shoot­ing down two en­emy fighter jets.

He earned a doc­tor­ate in as­tro­nau­tics from the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, and de­vised manned space ren­dezvous tech­niques-an or­bital ma­neu­ver dur­ing which two crafts dock in space-that were later adopted by NASA.

—AFP

IN SPACE: This NASA file photo taken on July 21, 1969 shows Apollo 11 space mis­sion US astronaut Buzz Aldrin back aboard the lu­nar mod­ule “Ea­gle” af­ter spend­ing more than 2-1/2 hours on the lu­nar surface.

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