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Buzz Aldrin takes giant leap into kids' books

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Buzz Aldrin has beaten Neil Armstrong at last - with the publication of a book about his experiences in space aimed at the kids' market. Aldrin reckons that sci-fi films crammed with special effects are giving youngsters an unrealistic impression of life in space, and wants to inspire them with something a little more tangible.

Buzz Aldrin, spaceman. Pic NASA

The book, titled "Buzz Aldrin: Reaching for the Moon", is aimed at six to nine year-olds and is by illustrator Wendell Minor. It tells Aldrin's story, beginning with his childhood in New Jersey, up to the moment of the moon landing on 20 July 1969. In it, Aldrin speculates that mankind will eventually colonise the moon, and other planets in the solar system.

Minor told the Associated Press that it was inspiring to work with Aldrin, and that he (Aldrin) had "the eye of an artist". He went on to say that he wants to give kids someone to look up to, other than pop stars and sports stars.

Buzz Aldrin was born in 1930 in Montclair, New Jersey. He started to take school high school work seriously, when he decided he wanted to train to be a pilot. His father flew for the military during WWII. It obviously paid off, because young Buzz graduated from University in 1951 (from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York), third in his class.

After spending some years in the military - during which time he flew 66 combat missions in the Korean War - he gained a PhD in Astronautics from MIT for his thesis "Guidance for Manned Orbital Rendezvous". He was selected as an astronaut in 1963.

As well as his most famous mission - where he served as lunar module pilot on Apollo 11, Aldrin logged a total of 289 hours and 53 minutes in space, and established a new record for an extended space walk in 1966, when he spent five and a half hours outside his spacecraft. He retired from NASA in 1971.

Check out reviews of the book on Amazon here, or check out the UK version here. ®

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