Buzz Aldrin on his health scare and John Glenn

Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin check out the engines on a Saturn V rocket at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “I’m feeling better and my rocket is ready to launch,” he tweeted. (Buzz Aldrin Photo via Twitter)

Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin check out the engines on a Saturn V rocket at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “I’m feeling better and my rocket is ready to launch,” he tweeted. (Buzz Aldrin Photo via Twitter)

Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin made light of what some might consider a close brush with death during an interview that aired today on NBC’s “Today” show – but he made a serious point as well.

A medical emergency at the South Pole forced Aldrin’s evacuation from the South Pole during a tourism trek on Nov. 30. “I got out of breath,” the 86-year-old told interviewer Al Roker at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “You know, that’s nothing new, except it’s a little more concentrated.”

Aldrin suffered from respiratory problems associated with Antarctica’s cold temperatures and high altitude. “Not much air to breathe up there,” he said. He was airlifted to a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand, for a week of recuperation.

It didn’t sound as if he had any regrets.

“When turning back is about as difficult as pressing on, you press on, because you’ve got an objective,” Aldrin said. “Especially when they tell me that I just set a record – the oldest guy to the South Pole. See, now it was worth it, really!”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Award-winning science writer, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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