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Buzz Aldrin recovering after polar evacuation, can’t go home

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(FILES) This file photo taken on November 12, 2015 shows former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin during a press conference in Geneva. Buzz Aldrin, the 86-year-old retired US astronaut who was among the first men to walk on the Moon, has been evacuated from the South Pole for medical reasons, the National Science Foundation said December 1, 2016.The request to evacuate Aldrin, who was described as an "ailing visitor," was issued to the NSF by a private tourism firm named White Desert, a statement said. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

(FILES) This file photo taken on November 12, 2015 shows former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin during a press conference in Geneva. Buzz Aldrin, the 86-year-old retired US astronaut who was among the first men to walk on the Moon, has been evacuated from the South Pole for medical reasons, the National Science Foundation said December 1, 2016.The request to evacuate Aldrin, who was described as an “ailing visitor,” was issued to the NSF by a private tourism firm named White Desert, a statement said.<br />FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Retired US astronaut and the second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, was recovering after his medical evacuation from Antarctica but is not yet able to return home, his manager Christina Korp said Sunday.

“He still has some congestion in his lungs so has been advised not to take the long flight home to the States and to rest in New Zealand while it clears up,” Korp said in a statement.

Aldrin, 86, was evacuated to a hospital in Christchurch on Friday after experiencing health problems while on a trip to the South Pole.

“He now holds the record as the oldest person to reach the South Pole He’ll be insufferable now,” Korp quipped in a tweet.

Aldrin said his primary interest in visiting the South Pole was to experience and study conditions similar to life on Mars and to speak to National Science Foundation staff based 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 said in a statement released from his hospital room.

“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.”

But Aldrin said he was now looking forward to being home by Christmas, as he continues his quest for a permanent settlement on Mars.

Aldrin’s South Pole visit adds to his exploration achievements which include a space walk during the 1966 Gemini 12 mission, walking on the moon in 1969, going down to see the Titanic in 1996 and visiting the North Pole in 1998.



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