Moon landing 50th anniversary: Sussex man’s brush with astronaut Buzz

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin pictured at breakfast with Haywards Heath journalist Arnie Wilson SUS-190715-170616001
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin pictured at breakfast with Haywards Heath journalist Arnie Wilson SUS-190715-170616001

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin – only the second man in history to set foot on the Moon – later sought to promote space tourism.

At least that’s what he told Haywards Heath journalist Arnie Wilson.

Haywards Heath journalist Arnie Wilson SUS-190715-170605001

Haywards Heath journalist Arnie Wilson SUS-190715-170605001

As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings this week, Arnie recalled how he once had breakfast with the pioneering astronaut – and learned of his desire to promote space travel for the masses.

Arnie was working as a correspondent for the Financial Times back in 1999 when he heard that Buzz was visiting London.

“I’ve always been fascinated by space travel and, like many people, watched the Apollo 11 landing on black and white TV when I was working at Anglia TV In Norwich,” said Arnie.

He managed to secure an interview with Buzz over breakfast at a London hotel.

At the time, said Arnie, Buzz preferred to talk about the future than his past moon mission.

He seemed “obsessed with getting tourists into space,” said Arnie.

“So much so that as breakfast proceeded, I could hardly get a word in edgeways.”

He said that Buzz wanted “to be a pioneer in the space tourism industry – and help design and build the rockets to do the job.”

At one point, Arnie said, he asked Buzz if any moon craters had been named after him and his colleagues - Armstrong and Collins - on the moon mission.

“There are three craters named after us,” Buzz told Arnie, “but they’re so small they wouldn’t show (on a map).

“They’re in the vicinity of our landing site. But of course anything on the nearside of any appreciable size has already been named.

“So our craters had to be very small.

“There are a number of ones on the other side but they’re all named after Russians, because they sent a satellite with a camera first.”