West Point graduate. Fighter pilot. Spacewalker. Apollo 11 astronaut. Man on the moon. Such is the storied career of Buzz Aldrin. Part of the first crew to set foot on another world, Aldrin spent more than 2 hours on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. He also became the subject of one of the most iconic images on the 20th century (left), a solitary explorer in white contrasted against the gray landscape, with mission commander Neil Armstrong reflected in his visor. Even before his Apollo 11 fame, Aldrin had broken new ground with a record-settting spacewalk during the Gemini 12 mission in 1966.
For all his contributions to America's space program, Aldrin received NASA's Ambassador of Exploration Award on Saturday, March 25, at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
In a post-Apollo 11 news conference, Aldrin said, "I think that this demonstrated that we were certainly on the right track when we undertook this commitment to go to the moon. I think that what this means is that many other problems, perhaps, can be solved in the same way, by making a commitment to solve them in a long-time fashion.
Aldrin is one of 38 recipients of the Ambassador of Exploration Award, all of whom were astronauts or other key individuals who participated in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. The award is a small sample of lunar material encased in Lucite and mounted for public display. The material is part of the 842 pounds of samples brought back to Earth during the six Apollo lunar expeditions from 1969 to 1972. Aldrin's award will be displayed in the Sketch Foundation Gallery: Air & Space Exhibits, California Science Center, 700 State Street, Los Angeles.
More:Space Ref.com: -- Honors Buzz Aldrin With Exploration Award
Source: Johns Hopkins University