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Buzz Aldrin and Mike Massimino on StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Buzz Aldrin with Neil deGrasse Tyson on StarTalk
Buzz Aldrin with Neil deGrasse Tyson on StarTalk. Pic: National Geographic

It’s an extra-special StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson tonight — with former astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Mike Massimino both featured.

Aldrin — one of the first two humans to land on the moon along with Neil Armstrong — talks in his interview with deGrasse Tyson about every astronaut’s worst nightmare: what would have happened if the pair hadn’t come back.

And deGrasse Tyson reveals the words of a “creepy but beautiful” speech written for President Richard Nixon in case Aldrin and Armstrong had got stranded on the moon and everyone on earth knew they would die.

Massimino tells deGrasse Tyson on the show that the speech would have been written because after landing on the moon, the two astronauts had another launch to go through to leave, which was a potentially risky event. He added: “If that rocket did not work on the moon they were stuck.”

Watch a clip below as deGrasse Tyson asks Aldrin: “If you had died on the moon, were we ready for that here in America? Here on earth?”

Aldrin tells him: “Every president has a speech writer, and the staff writer to the president would of course prepare in the event some disaster unfolded, like the Challenger [1986 Space Shuttle] accident. And it’s not surprising to me at all that one would do that.”

DeGrasse Tyson then reads the words of the speech which thankfully President Nixon never had to read, but are included in his presidential archives.

They read:

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldwin, know that there is no hope for their recovery.

But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

Watch a separate clip from tonight’s episode below where Massimino talks about peeing in space, and his experience wearing Maximum Absorbency Garments — basically diapers.

He also reveals every time they used to do a “urine dump” and flush it out into space, all the astronauts would stand at the windows to watch because the effect was so visually beautiful.

DeGrasse Tyson laughs as he says jokingly: “You peed on Earth!”

StarTalk airs Mondays at 11/10c on National Geographic.


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