The West

The second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, has opened a new space and technology museum in Carnarvon.

The former astronaut cut a ribbon to officially launch new attraction, which is home to a piece of Skylab and a mock up of the capsule the astronauts travelled in during the Gemini missions.

But Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum chairman Phil Youd said his favourite item was now a piece of concrete Dr Aldrin signed and set his handprints in this morning.

Mr Youd said a second stage of the museum was planned next door and he hoped it would eventually expand to become the WA Space Museum.

Paul Dench, the former manager of Carnarvon’s NASA space station, said he was delighted with the first stage of the museum and there was a huge amount of other equipment from the old space station that could be displayed in the future.

Mr Youd said the museum had been a “labour of love”.

“But it’s not just me… there’s a whole lot of people behind it.”

Dr Aldrin, 82, looked every bit the rock star as he landed in Carnarvon yesterday.

He was met at the airport by 300 cheering school students waving Australian flags.

On the opposite side of the globe to the US, it was the last station to communicate with space capsules as they left Earth’s orbit and the last to make contact before splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Dr Aldrin said he first heard of the town 50 years ago.

“So getting to see what it is and what’s around here and what the people are like is quite intriguing,” he said.

Dr Aldrin met some of the trackers — people who worked at the station during the 1960s and 1970s.

Schoolchildren asked Dr Aldrin about the Moon landing and he spent 45 minutes sharing stories about the cramped conditions, trouble getting the flag to stay up on the Moon’s rocky surface, space food and how he “peed his pants” during the seven-hour Moon walk.

Dr Aldrin said he hoped to go scuba diving and taste a few Carnarvon bananas.

The West Australian

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