He may have been only the second man to step on the moon, but now Buzz Aldrin has boldly gone where no astronaut has gone before – by becoming a rap star.
In an unlikely pairing with rap artist Snoop Dogg and producer Quincy Jones, the 79-year-old moon-walking hero has recorded a track and video to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing that set him and Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface.
Entitled 'Rocket Experience' the single features the veteran spaceman on lead vocals, chanting lines such as: 'I tell the story ‘bout me time on the moon now, the sky was black even though the sun shine down; moon-walking’s such a trip, it’s so fine, when you’re walking in the lunar dust.'
Rap idols Talib Kweli and Souljaboy also contributed to the production, which is raising money for Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation (correct: ShareSpace) to support space education programmes.
'I was shocked when Buzz hit me on Twitter and was like "Yo, I’m working on this album,”' explained Talib Kweli in a second video showing how the song was made and featuring tongue-in-cheek interviews with Aldrin and his fellow stars.
'He wanted to get more of an underground feel, so he had to bring me in….Buzz Aldrin is so gangsta.'
It was on July 20 1969 that Buzz Aldrin followed Neil Armstrong out of the Apollo 11 lander to make humankind’s first footprints in the lunar soil. The feat turned them into global heroes and was followed by a further five missions that saw 10 more astronauts walk on the moon over the next three years.
But in a new book, 'Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon' Aldrin tells how he struggled for years afterwards with depression and an addiction to alcohol that nearly killed him, before embracing sobriety, marrying third wife Lois, and dedicating himself to becoming a tireless advocate for future space exploration.