Dubai, UAE: When American astronaut Buzz Aldrin first beheld the still beauty of the moon up close and personal on July 21, 1969 he uttered only two words: “Magnificent desolation.”
Only the second man to walk on the moon and lunar module pilot of the Apollo 11 mission, when Aldrin landed in Dubai on Thursday as part of a worldwide charity flight, he had two words to describe the ambitious emirate: “Dreamy boldness”.
En route from Saudi Arabia to India, Aldrin is co-piloting the Think Global Flight alongside project founder Captain Judith A. Rice and stopped in Dubai on their latest round-the-world flight aimed at educating 20,000 students in 35 countries about aviation, science, technology and engineering.
Aldrin attended a briefing at Intercontinental Dubai Marina where he lauded the UAE for dreaming big and following those dreams, noting the March announcement to create a national space agency and send a probe to Mars were courageous.
As many as 75 scientists and engineers in the UAE are working to help the country become the first in the Arab world to reach Mars with an unmanned space probe.
Aldrin suggested the UAE could do a trial run with a smaller probe to the moon to learn more about space travel ahead of its mars probe which is expected to complete the 60-million kilometre journey by 2021.
“It is very ambitious, the accumulation of knowledge that is going on here,” Aldrin said.
Captain Rice said Aldrin is a key ambassador of her Think Global Flight and represents the mantra that big dreams can be successful with perseverance, citing Aldrin’s remarkable career as a former fighter pilot who fought in the Korean War before earning his doctorate degree from MIT and joining NASA’s first moon-landing flight.
Noting that no dream is beyond our grasp, Rice said “the message is that you can do it.”
Rice said her mission is to help make more children around the globe, especially minorities and young women, become interested in aviation and aerospace.
© Gulf News