Web Extra: Walking on the Moon

May 19, 2010

What is it like on the moon? Just ask Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men to set foot on Earth's only natural satellite. As part of the Apollo 11 mission, Aldrin took a walk on the moon's surface and describes the experience on his site BuzzAldrin.com.

"Beautiful, beautiful. Magnificent desolation." Those were Aldrin's first words to NASA in Houston as he stepped backward down the Eagle Lander's ladder. The surface of the moon, according to Aldrin, resembled a remarkably barren desert, ranging from dusty grey in some parts to a light-beige color, and covered in rocks of every shape and size.

Craters, Aldrin says, were everywhere, and had diameters of up to 16 feet. Imagine a rolling and desolate terrain littered with shadowy potholes and surrounded by a pitch-black sky. The only thing visible was the Earth, a small fragment of a blue and white sphere that was so far off in the distance, you would wonder how you were ever there in the first place.

Your boots sink into the surface of the moon, almost 6 inches in some places.

What is it like to walk on the moon, you ask? Pretty difficult, actually. Your boots sink into the surface, almost 6 inches in some places. Although you only carry about one-sixth of your earthly body weight, your movements are extremely limited. "Our suits were marvels of engineering that worked like thermal bottles, but they hampered our activities," Aldrin says on his website. "When pressurized, they were as hard as a football and made even bending over extremely difficult." Even coming to a stop was a task for the astronauts. On the moon, inertia is much greater than it is on Earth, making simple movements like turning around and stopping abruptly, extremely tricky.

Aldrin comments on questions like these and more in the FAQ section of the site, making it a must-visit for Aldrin fans. It also features a timeline of Aldrin's life, links to his other projects, and an extensive gallery of photos from his personal life and career.

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