Apollo 11 Crew to Receive Moon Rocks Next Week

By Keith Cowing
July 13, 2004
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Apollo 11 Crew to Receive Moon Rocks Next Week

At a ceremony at the National Air and Space Museum next week the crew of Apollo 11 will each receive a special commemorative award which contains a moon rock.

According to NASA sources Buzz Aldrin originally wanted a much more elaborate series of mementos for all Apollo moon crews including cufflinks with moon rocks and other types of lunar jewelry – and a military promotion (with a pension increase) for everyone as well.

The moon rocks they will receive cannot be sold and must be put on public display.

16 July 2004

To the Editor of www.NASAWATCH.com,

In response to the Editor’s note published on www.nasawatch.com on July 13th under the byline “Apollo 11 crew to receive moon rocks”, we would like your readers to know that in contrast to what you stated Dr. Buzz Aldrin “wanted” in connection with a special commemorative award for the Apollo astronauts, he spent a great deal of time and effort over the last 12 months in composing a formal recommendation in the form of a “Presidential Proposal.”  Originally this proposal was submitted last fall in conjunction with the Centennial of Flight, and more recently in conjunction with this year’s 35th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon  landing.

Dr. Aldrin’s written proposal recommended a recognition ceremony to honor America’s achievements in space, specifically America’s lunar missions, by gathering the Apollo astronauts together who had achieved lunar distance (24 in total), including those still alive and the family members of those who had passed away.   In addition, a secondary and beneficial purpose of the event was stated to “Publicize the importance of continuing America’s exploration of space ….”

In contrast to your Editor’s note, Dr. Aldrin’s proposal suggested the following three elements (as directly quoted from the proposal) for consideration in connection with the recognition ceremony:

1.  Grant the formal title of “Honorable Lunar Ambassador” to each lunar astronaut;

2.  Elevate the rank of each lunar astronaut with a military background to an honorary two-star Admiral or two-star General status (at no cost to the government, and without increasing benefits or pension payments); and

3.  Provide a lunar rock sample to each lunar astronaut, or to the surviving family member of those family members who are deceased.

Although focused specifically on the Apollo lunar astronauts, I have to pause and wonder whether Dr. Aldrin’s efforts in submitting this proposal may have been a contributing factor to the special ceremony to be held by NASA on July 20th, in which the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts will be bestowed with the title of “Ambassadors of Exploration” and each will be presented with a lunar sample to be donated in their name to a museum or learning institution.

Dr. Aldrin, who will be attending the special ceremony, could not be more pleased with the way NASA has chosen to commemorate its first generation of Astronauts and America’s achievements in space on this 35th Anniversary, and hopes that this event will further bolster nationwide support and enthusiasm for the administration’s bold new “Moon, Mars and Beyond” vision for human space exploration.


Lisa Marie Cannon, Esq.

Business Attorney for former astronaut Buzz Aldrin

16 July 2004

Editor’s note: I stand by what my sources have told me – and indeed re-confirmed all that I posted with several of those sources this evening. I have not seen any formal or official requests made in writing by Buzz Aldrin to NASA about any Apollo commemorative activities and cannot comment on what is or is not in any such requests. I can only vouch for what my highly credible sources at NASA and sources elsewhere have told me about things Buzz has said with regard to what he wanted to see happen in connection with the Apollo 11 anniversary. My original post is consistent with that information.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.