A recent unflattering portrait of Buzz Aldrin in The Space Review by Dr. Dwayne Day has kicked up a controversy over how much American heroes should be respected, whether or not that have unsettling idiosyncrasies. Aldrin, who is in the winter of his life at the age of 86, has been a tireless advocate for sending people to Mars since the 1980s. He also has a well-deserved reputation of seeking out media attention for its own sake. Keith Cowing, of NASA Watch, warmly supported the second man to walk on the moon.

Buzz Aldrin won’t shut up

Day’s main complaint about Aldrin is that he is constantly invited to space conferences where he will give a stream of consciousness talks about his idea of Mars cycler, spacecraft that constantly ply between Earth and Mars using some features of orbital mechanics.

Aldrin, at a recent Humans to Mars Conference, overran his allotted time by almost by almost a half an hour. According to Day Aldrin always does this.

Day does not mince words when he writes about Aldrin. He is “rude,” “obnoxious,” “oblivious,” and will not stop talking. The author compares the second man to walk on the moon to Grandpa Simpson for his inability to shut up, which was Day’s sly way of implying that he is more than a little senile. However, Aldrin keeps being invited to conferences because living Apollo moon walkers are few and far between and they continue to be fewer as time passes.

The second man to walk on the moon has been causing trouble for decades

Aldrin, in his 1973 memoir “Return to Earth.” Was very frank about his bouts of depression and alcoholism that he suffered after the Apollo 11 moon mission.

He had done the greatest thing that any human being had ever done, yet he had decades of life to live afterward. But in being so open about his problems, Aldrin had shattered the mythos of the “right stuff” astronaut.

Aldrin has also been very open to any and all media opportunities that come his way, even if they do not necessarily pertain to space.

One year he was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.” He even did a rap song with Snoop Dog.

An Apollo moonwalker makes an unwise appearance with President Barack Obama

In 2010, Aldrin found himself on Air Force One traveling to the Kennedy Space Center with then President Barack Obama. Obama had canceled the Constellation space exploration program and instead announced a substitute project that eventually became the “Journey to Mars.” Obama referenced Aldrin, who was in the audience at the time, when he said, in explaining why Americans will not, after all, return to the moon, “We've been there before.

Buzz has been there.” Aldrin has yet to live down his association with a decision that brought a number of Apollo-era astronauts, including his old Apollo 11 shipmate Neil Armstrong, out in opposition. Aldrin has since changed his mind and has become a return to the moon advocate, so long as it serves the humans to Mars goal.

Keith Cowing of NASA Watch defends an American hero

None other than Keith Cowing, the purveyor of the long time space-related website, NASA Watch, rose to Aldrin’s defense. Cowing asked what has Dwayne Day done with his life that give him the moral authority to disrespect an authentic American hero? The point is a fair one. Besides, most people will put up with Aldrin’s behavior just to be able to say that they were once in the same room as him.