Aldrin Laments Lost Chances for Cronkite

Marking the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing, Bob Orr spoke with Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin about his historic mission from Earth to the moon. CBS

Walter Cronkite's strong belief in the United States space program was well-known.

So much so that Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second man to step foot on the moon (right after Neil Armstrong), says it's too bad Cronkite didn't get a chance to go into space.

The CBS News giant died Friday at the age of 92.

Aldrin and two other moonwalkers appeared on "The Early Show" Monday.

"Walter was a very supportive person of the space program," Aldrin observed to co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez, and he has continued -- after the missions to the moon, he's continued to support the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and all the early (space program) people. ... He's been always a very firm supporter of the space program. He obviously wanted to fly in the shuttle as a journalist in space. Unfortunately, he didn't get that opportunity.

"I'm sure he wanted to be here with us today on the 40th anniversary. He didn't get that opportunity, either. It's a sad day, but it's a great day for us, as we look at 40 years ago and chart a course for 40 years in the future."

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Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon, on the mission after Aldrin's, urged the media to drum up support for today's space program, saying, "It's my observation that what the media talks about and says is exciting is what the public thinks is exciting. So, we hope that you feel, the media feels that going to Mars is the next big challenge and that we will actually benefit from it. We think so. We think it's a great idea and it will help America be better next year than last year, and ten years from now than now. It's up to you. You're the ones that sort of control the excitement level of the whole world, really."

Charles Duke was the tenth man to walk on the moon. He described what it was like, recalling it was "of course, the most exciting flight I'd ever had, one of the most exciting adventures in my life. We were six hours late landing, and so when we actually landed and looked out across, to me, an incredibly beautiful lunar landscape that was unlike anything I'd seen before. We landed in the mountains of the moon, and it was very, very rough -- rolling hills, craters, rocks everywhere. And as I stepped onto the moon, I was almost overwhelmed with the excitement of it all. That continued for 71 hours. ... It was so exciting to -- you know, every time you went over a little ridge, you were wondering what you're gonna see next. And so it was that kind of adventure ... for 71 hours."


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