It might not top his trip to the moon, or even the time he punched out a moon hoax conspiracy theorist, but Buzz Aldrin’s baffled reaction to a meandering speech Friday by President Donald Trump on the nature of space and infinity has gained the grizzled astronaut a whole new round of admirers.
Aldrin, 87, the second person to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission, joined Trump and other officials at the White House on Friday for the signing of an executive order to re-establish the National Space Council after a 24-year hiatus.
“At some point in the future, we’re going to look back and say, ‘How did we do it without space?’ Trump said at one point, causing Aldrin’s eyebrows to shoot up.
“The human soul yearns for discovery,” Trump added. “Our journey into space will not only make us stronger and more prosperous, but will unite us behind grand ambitions and bring us all closer together.
“Wouldn’t that be nice? Can you believe that space is going to do that?”
Trump and Aldrin had another, even more puzzling, exchange as the president prepared to sign the executive order.
“We know what this is, space. That’s all it has to say: space. There’s a lot of room out there, right?” Trump asked Aldrin as he prepared to sign the order.
Aldrin replied with a quote from the astronaut character Buzz Lightyear from the movie “Toy Story.”
“Infinity and beyond!” Aldrin said.
“This is infinity here,” Trump responded as Aldrin looked on, appearing increasingly confused by his comments. “It could be infinity. We don’t really don’t know. But it could be. It has to be something – but it could be infinity, right?”
Photos and videos of Aldrin’s baffled expressions during the comments immediately caught the internet’s fancy, though Aldrin had already gained an extra measure of online fame in 2002 when he punched moon hoax conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel, who had called him a “coward and a liar” for refusing to swear on a Bible that he had actually been to the moon.
The Washington Post contributed to this story.