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Buzz Aldrin still recovering after emergency airlift from the South Pole

Buzz Aldrin was the second man on the moon in 1969, but that wasn’t the end of his travels. Nearly half a century later, he continues to explore, this time the South Pole’s frozen expanse. But unlike his successful return flight in the command module with Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins back in the day, he needed a little help getting off this landscape.

The 86 year old Aldrin posted these pre-trip photos on Twitter last week:

It was supposed to be a fun tourist trip. Unfortunately, the namesake for Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear developed fluid in his lungs and had to be emergency evacuated from the South Pole.

Here’s the official statement from his website:

“The evacuation flight for Buzz Aldrin has successfully landed at Christchurch, New Zealand and he has been transferred to hospital for examination. He currently has fluid in his lungs but is responding well to antibiotics and being kept in overnight for observation. His condition is stable and his manager, who is currently with him, described him being in good spirits. We would like to offer our sincere thanks to the team at the American National Science Foundation for accommodating Buzz and his manager on one of their flights from the South Pole to New Zealand via McMurdo.”

As of Saturday, Buzz remained in the hospital for observation. His website explained that he still has congestion in his lungs, and has been advised not to take the long flight home to the States until it clears up.

The legendary explorer said he regretted only that he couldn’t spend more time in Antarctica.

“I didn’t get as much time to spend with the scientists as I would have liked to discuss the research they’re doing in relation to Mars,” he wrote on his official website. “My visit was cut short and I had to leave after a couple of hours. I really enjoyed my short time in Antarctica and seeing what life could be like on Mars.”

Aldrin has been busy since his NASA days. He is the author of nine books, and his website says he “revamped his SpaceShare Foundation to be focused on STEAM Education – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math to ignite the spark and fuel excitement for space in kids – specifically for K-8.” He also launched the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech “to promote and develop his vision of a permanent human settlement on the planet Mars.”

To infinity and beyond, Colonel Aldrin!