A lecture featuring Apollo 11 astronaut and Florida Tech research professor Buzz Aldrin was cancelled last Tuesday due to health concerns expressed by Aldrin’s manager.
The event was organized by AIAA, the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, as a lecture with the opportunity for a question and answer period at the end.
On the day of the event, the lecture was moved from the auditorium in Skurla 110 to the Gleason auditorium, in order to accommodate the 325 people that RSVP’d.
Just 10 minutes prior to the event, however, Aldrin’s manager called and insisted that the event be rescheduled, citing health issues.
Many students arrived at Gleason with high hopes, unaware that the event would be postponed. Some stayed and milled about, discussing what could have happened.
One student, Caio Silveira, a sophomore in aerospace engineering, was disappointed.
He had bought Aldrin’s book a few months ago, and was hoping to get it signed at the event.
“It’s unfortunate, but understandable,” said Silveira, insisting that Aldrin’s health is what’s most important.
Rituparna Basu, a sophomore aerospace engineering student and the newsletter manager of AIAA, expressed similar disappointment, but said he was happy that the event was receiving so much support.
Basu is optimistic that the event will be rescheduled for early to mid-February, and that the expected turnout will be the same or greater.
Basu also was quick to contribute the growth of AIAA to the influence of Aldrin along with other astronaut speakers. “We are getting 400 people to attend this event; it’s definitely a huge influence. Membership has increased by a lot.”
The timing of the event synced with a two-day workshop at the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at the Florida Tech Center for Aeronautics and Innovation.
Aldrin and his son Andy, director of the Institute, led a discussion about one day reaching the planet Mars. Aldrin turned 86 earlier this month.