Expo Highlights Minnesotans' Contributions to Space Travel

Updated: 04/26/2014 9:00 PM
Created: 04/26/2014 3:16 PM
By: Kate Renner

Minnesotans were encouraged to "Go Boldly" into space Saturday.

AirSpace Minnesota hosted the expo at the St. Paul Downtown Airport. The event honored Minnesotans' contributions to aerospace exploration. In fact, 3M created the first moon boot to leave a print in outer space.

Among the astronauts who spoke to the crowds were Minnesota-native Dr. Karen Nyberg, who spent 5 and a half months on the International Space Station last fall; Dr. Curtis Brown, Senator Harrison Schmidt, the last man to set foot on the moon in 1972, and space pioneer, Dr. Buzz Aldrin; one of three astronauts on the Apollo 11 expedition.

Aldrin was among the first to land on the moon on July 20, 1969.

"Humans are born to explore, throughout history we have always been curious about what's on the other side of that water out there," said Aldrin.

His were the second set of footprints on the moon's surface in 1969. In between conducting experiments on the moon's surface, Aldrin took a minute to dance on the moon.

"It wasn't Michael Jackson's moonwalk either, cause that was backyards, but I did demonstrate in front of the camera just how mobile a person could be in net-gravity," said Aldrin.

Neil Armstrong's words of "one giant leap for mankind" will forever ring out across space. But Buzz Aldrin exclaimed his own poetic observations, "Beautiful view. Magnificent desolation."

"When I heard Neil say it was beautiful. I didn't think it was beautiful particularly. That triggered magnificence, is the sense of human beings able to fulfill the dreams of thousands of years, but what a desolate place we're looking at," said Aldrin.

He balks at conspiracy theorists who say no one's ever been to the moon. He's fulfilled a dream, he says united the planet.

"People out there said, "we did it, we did it" they felt like they participated and we were the symbols of having achieved something around the world and it still does," said Aldrin.

Aldrin now hopes the United States, in collaboration with Russia and China, will look beyond the moon, aiming for the new frontier of Mars.

"That's my dream," said Aldrin.

Aldrin says he believes once people get to mars, and he hopes it's within the next two decades, they'll have to permanently stay on the red planet. He says there's no good way of bringing someone back from our nearest planet.

Watch the extended KSTP interview with Aldrin.

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