SCIENCE

How Buzz Aldrin Used A Felt-Tip Pen To Get Back From The Moon

He shared some of his favorite memories from the mission.

Buzz Aldrin took his most famous step almost five decades ago, when he followed fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong out of their lunar module to become the first humans to set foot on the moon.

On Wednesday, the 86-year-old celebrated the 47th anniversary of their Apollo 11 mission by stepping out on Facebook Live for the first time to talk about his ideas for the future of space exploration ― and to reminisce a bit.

Speaking with his daughter, Jan, Aldrin shared his memories of the mission, including the ingenious way he tried to fix a circuit-breaker that threatened to block their return to Earth. 

“I used a felt-tip pen and pushed it in, and Houston says, ‘Hooray, we got a live circuit!’” Aldrin recalled. “Then we were ready to proceed with the countdown.”

Aldrin and Armstrong arrived on the moon on July 20, 1969, and took their first steps the next day. They returned to Earth on July 24, 1969, splashing down with the third member of their crew, Michael Collins, in the Pacific Ocean about 800 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii.

Watch the video for more fun stories from Aldrin.

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story erroneously said Michael Collins landed on the moon.

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