Buzz Aldrin Medically Evacuated from South Pole Station, Antarctica
He is now reported to be stable and smiling from a hospital bed in New Zealand
December 5, 2016
Now here's a headline you probably never expected to read: Former NASA Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was medically evacuated form South Pole Station, Antarctica on Wednesday. He will travel by air from South Pole Station to McMurdo Station, and from there to New Zealand.
The second man to walk on the moon, 86 year old Aldrin was on a privately funded tour of Antarctica, where he developed water in his lungs. South Pole Station is at 9300 feet elevation, and is below freezing even during the Summer. Even healthy young adults have to adjust to breathing there.
The tour company White Desert issued a statement Thursday saying Aldrin was visiting the South Pole with other tourists when "his condition deteriorated." The company said Aldrin was flown with a physician to the McMurdo research station on Ross Island in Antarctica and from there to New Zealand. Aldrin was in stable condition, the statement said.
The National Science Foundation said it provided a humanitarian medical evacuation to McMurdo and then to Christchurch, New Zealand. Aldrin was taken to a local medical facility, the foundation said.
"After a grueling 24 hours we're safe in New Zealand," tweeted Aldrin's manager, Christina Korp. The tweet include a photo of Aldrin smiling in a hospital bed.
Aldrin has advocated for NASA to explore Mars in recent years. Aldrin is an American engineer and former astronaut. As the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, he was one of the first two humans to land on the Moon, and the second person to walk on it. He set foot on the Moon at 03:15:16 on July 21, 1969 (UTC), following mission commander Neil Armstrong. He is a former U.S. Air Force officer with Command Pilot rating.
The Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station is a United States scientific research station at the South Pole, the southernmost place on the Earth. The station is located on the high plateau of Antarctica at an elevation of 2,835 metres (9,301 feet) above sea level and is administered by the Division of Polar Programs within the National Science Foundation under the United States Antarctic Program.
Before November 1956, there was no permanent human structure at the South Pole, and very little human presence in the interior of Antarctica at all. The few scientific stations in Antarctica were located on and near its seacoast. The station has been continuously occupied since it was built. The Amundsen–Scott Station has been rebuilt, demolished, expanded, and upgraded several times since 1956.
Since the Amundsen–Scott Station is located at the South Pole, it is at the only place on the land surface of the Earth where the sun is continuously up for six months and then continuously down for six months. (The only other such place is at the North Pole, on the sea ice in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.) Thus, during each year, this station experiences one extremely long "day" and one extremely long "night". During the six-month "day", the angle of elevation of the Sun above the horizon varies continuously. The sun rises on the September equinox, reaches its maximum angle above the horizon on the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, around December 20, and sets on the March equinox.