Buzz Aldrin Attends ‘Interstellar’ Screening

Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin at an industry screening of the film “Interstellar.”

Former astronaut and lunar pilot Buzz Aldrin, 84, has come as close to making an interstellar journey as anyone on Earth. 

He was the honored guest of a special industry screening of the film “Interstellar” in Malibu last Sunday.

The Malibu Times caught up with Aldrin and asked what he thought of the science-fiction movie, which stars Matthew McConaughey and is widely anticipated to receive a number of Oscar nominations. Aldrin said he was struck by the number of similarities between the film and the science-fiction book, “Encounter with Tiber,” he co-authored in 1996. 

One similarity is the plot line of an endangered civilization searching for a habitable planet. Another is the use of “zero point energy” or gravity waves used by spaceships to get from Point A to Point B over the vast distances of space. And in both worlds, as in Aldrin’s real-life, there was also some last-minute improvising on the part of the pilot in order to keep the ship and crew safe. 

One of the industry attendees, Malibu-based actress Genevieve Bujold, said it was “amazing” to watch “Interstellar” just knowing that Aldrin was in the same room. Another attendee, director Graeme Clifford, personally thanked Aldrin for sending his son an autographed photo over a decade ago. 

In his personal life, Aldrin is enthusiastically looking forward to an around-the-world trip on an airplane that he and his significant other are planning together, departing from the Burbank Airport. His partner is also a pilot, and they’ll be flying a Cirrus aircraft as soon as she gets her multiengine rating. Even Aldrin is brushing up on his flying skills for the trip, which he admitted had gotten “a little rusty” in recent years. 

Aldrin has now resided in California for half his adult life, first moving to the state in the 1970s from NASA in Houston. 

“I went to Edwards Air Force Base to run the test pilot school, and I’ve been here ever since.” Soon, however, he said “We’re pulling up stakes in California and will be settling in Florida.” Aldrin is originally from the East Coast, and believes state taxes in Florida will be lower. 

Since retiring, Aldrin has been active as a public speaker and advocate for a unified space vision, the U.S. Space Program and private space travel with companies like Space X and Virgin Galactic. He’d like to see humans land on the planet Mars by the year 2035, pointing out that it was 66 years from the first airplane flight until the moon landing, so it should be another 66 years between the first moon landing and the first Mars landing. 

Aldrin has actually worked out a lot of the calculations and diagrams for a future Mars shot – putting his Ph.D. from MIT to good use. He spells out many of his ideas, theories and opinions about space and future space travel in detail on his website. 

Aldrin has also started his own nonprofit organization, the ShareSpace Foundation, which promotes space experiences, space exploration and science education. In addition, he’s recently become involved in the expansion of a U.K. charity named Aerobility, where “PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) veterans are exposed to flying as a challenge to achieve and improve.”