Some UFO rumors never die. This one has been around since 1969.
When Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins took off for the moon in '69, they knew they were making history. Armstrong's "one small step" did indeed become a giant leap as the United States ratcheted up its space race fever until we had satellites in orbit and a telecommunications empire that eventually brought us GPS, cellular telephones, and Game of Thrones.
But it was a relatively innocuous little occurrence on the flight to the moon that UFO buffs are still up in arms over. Buzz Aldrin saw a UFO. Sort of. As Aldrin explains in a Reddit AMA:
"On Apollo 11 in route to the Moon, I observed a light out the window that appeared to be moving alongside us," Aldrin said. "There were many explanations of what that could be, other than other spacecraft from another country or another world – it was either the rocket we had separated from, or the 4 panels that moved away when we extracted the lander from the rocket and we were nose to nose with the two spacecraft. So in the close vicinity, moving away, were 4 panels. And I feel absolutely convinced that we were looking at the sun reflected off of one of these panels. Which one? I don't know. So technically, the definition could be 'unidentified.'"
The 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is coming up, which has revived some interest in the "UFO" moment.
But another classic Aldrin moment has also resurfaced, this one from 2002. Buzz Aldrin was asked to come to a Beverly Hills hotel to film a segment for a Japanese children's show. Once there, he was ambushed by a man who was trying to film a documentary claiming the Apollo 11 moon landings were faked. This man, Bart Sibrel, a taxi driver from Nashville, called Aldrin "a coward, and a liar, and a thief". Buzz Aldrin, Air Force fighter pilot, jacked his jaw.
Aldrin was not charged in the incident, since police believed Aldrin had been provoked.
Image via Wikimedia Commons