On Sunday 28 February I was fortunate enough to be in a packed theatre at the Science Museum to see Buzz Aldrin in conversation with Brian Cox. It had been a day full of space related activities, not only had my son and I marveled at the permanent exhibits of rocket engines and lunar vehicles’s but we had visited the spectacular Cosmonauts exhibition in the morning. But it was now time for lift-off…
Hearing Buzz talk about his time in space from Gemini to Apollo made humankind’s achievement of putting people on the moon extremely real. He spoke about the event in such a way that you felt you could almost reach out and touch it. No image, book or film has ever gotten me so close to this historic event.
On the other side of the table, Brian Cox was the perfect choice for interviewer. He and Buzz seemed so natural together that it was at times like witnessing two friends nattering away in the pub.
Of the many things Buzz spoke about during the hour (and a bit) there was one thing that resonated deeper even than his exploits on our orbiting companion. He spoke passionately about the need for every nation on the planet to work together if we were ever going to achieve our true potential out there in the stars.
“We must work together, competition is messy”
Buzz’s vision of cycling orbits to allow us to populate Mars are an audacious goal, but one that I feel we should join together to make a reality. We must discard our differences and petty competitiveness to ensure we have a future in space. Buzz told us how the months of work required to retrieve data from the red planet could have been done in hours had humans been there.
But how? How can we convince the nations to work together? How can we create an environment in which we help each other to achieve great things rather than fight each other to be first? I had hoped to ask Buzz this very question at the end of the talk but unfortunately time was not on my side.
In the spirit of space exploration I have created a mission patch for this endeavor along with, naturally, an accompanying latin motto. What are your thoughts? Do you think working together in friendship will take us to the stars?
You can see Buzz Aldrin in conversation with Brian Cox for yourself and find out more about the event online at the Science Museum blog.