Dreams of an Astronaut 'Buzz' Aldrin in Schaumburg Says Shoot for Mars

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Peterson epeterson@dailyherald.com By Eric Peterson epeterson@dailyherald.com

Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, now the last living member of the first moon landing, encouraged students Monday at the Schaumburg elementary school named after him that it isn't too late for America to eclipse even the achievements of Apollo 11.

"I'm just so happy to be here again at my namesake school," he told an assembly of all approximately 670 students at Aldrin Elementary School.

He recounted for the first- through sixth-graders the history of 20th-century aviation and how unlikely a goal it was when President John F. Kennedy committed in 1961 to landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

Aldrin said the story really began when the Wright Brothers first successfully flew an airplane in 1903, the year his mother -- Marion Moon -- was born.

"Sixty-six years later, Neil (Armstrong) and I stepped on the moon, fulfilling the dreams of millions," Aldrin said.

He emphasized how the Apollo space missions were a team effort that required a lot of individual effort and coordination from every member. Aldrin told of his own intensive technological and flying training and how he was passed over as an astronaut the first time he applied.

But when the mission came together and he sat expectantly in the cockpit of the Apollo 11 rocket, he was able to reflect on how all the choices and hard work of his life had come together.

"I had a chance, looking out over the waves of Cocoa Beach, to think how wonderful my life had been," Aldrin said. "I had really been in the right place at the right time. I hope in your lives you will be in the right place at the right time to do wonderful things."

He told his audience that he actively advocates for something he calls STEAM power -- a re-emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics in American education.

With today's children taking up these disciplines, he believes there can be a continuous expanding human presence in space with the U. …