Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, along with Greg Autry, a commercial space expert, has endorsed Jim Bridenstine to become Nasa Administrator. Aldrin had thus moved further to undo that damage he helped to wrought when he threw his support behind Barack Obama and his gutting on human space exploration over seven years ago. Somewhere, Aldrin’s old shipmate, Neil Armstrong, who opposed Obama’s cancellation of the Constellation space exploration program, is smiling.

What made Bridenstine attractive to Aldrin?

It is not surprising that Bridenstine’s military experienced proved to be a selling point for Aldrin, himself a former fighter pilot during the Korean War.

This experience, in the view of the Apollo moonwalker, had given the NASA administrator nominee qualities of leadership that will serve him in good stead.

Aldrin and Autry dispose of the objections that Bridenstine is a “climate denier” and a “politician” in short order. The article notes that he has a foot in both the traditional NASA and the commercial space camps. Aldrin had the opportunity to brief Bridenstine on his “space cycler” concept and, being an intelligent man with political skills, the congressman listened respectfully.

How Buzz Aldrin is achieving redemption

By loaning his prestige to President Obama’s disastrous space policy, Aldrin lost quite a bit of credibility and goodwill in the aerospace community.

He realized, too late, that the previous president had used him to support a policy that damaged NASA and set back space exploration by about a decade.

Fortunately, Aldrin has moved to put things right, by recognizing that the path to Mars, his utmost desire, goes through the moon. Studies done by organizations such as MIT have shown that water that can be mined from the lunar surface could be refined into rocket fuel.

The moon could then be turned into a refueling stop for spacecraft headed for deep space destinations such as Mars.

Aldrin, as spry as he is in his eighties, is not likely to see the first footsteps on the Martian soil. However, an outside chance exists that he may still be around when the first astronauts return to the moon.

There was once a great tradition that the Capcom, the person tasked with communicating with a space mission from Mission Control in Houston, would be an astronaut, preferably someone who had performed a similar voyage. What would be more fitting than to have someone who had been to the moon, decades ago, receive the news that human beings have returned, this time to stay. Since Aldrin, now in his own way, is helping to make a lunar return happen, the honor should be his if he is still able to accept it.