Buzz Aldrin: Leonard Nimoy, my fellow space traveler

Editor’s Note: Buzz Aldrin, the NASA astronaut best known for his Apollo 11 moonwalk, holds a doctoral degree in astronautics. He is co-author with Leonard David of “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration,” published by the National Geographic Society. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

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Buzz Aldrin: Leonard Nimoy's Mr. Spock seemed like the ideal companion for a space voyage

Spock's "live long and prosper" is iconic, as is Neil Armstrong's "one small step for man"

CNN  — 

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Leonard Nimoy, a fellow space traveler because he helped make the journey into the final frontier accessible to us all.

Nimoy’s Mr. Spock in the original “Star Trek” television show, followed by the series of movies, proved to be a seminal, enduring and endearing character.

While the late Neil Armstrong’s “one small step for man,” as we began our exploration of the Moon back in July 1969, is ageless, so, too, is Spock’s iconic “live long and prosper,” a phrase that also spans time and space.

Buzz Aldrin

It brought out the Vulcan in all of us; that, for me, translated into a peaceful progression of exploring the vastness of outer space for all mankind.

Nimoy’s quite logical and always calm Spock struck me as an ideal person to have with us onboard a spaceship headed into the unknown. I also admit to being jealous of how much room was available on the USS Enterprise – far from the cramped quarters allotted space travelers of past, present and future!

Fans honor Nimoy with tweets, Vulcan salute

Leonard’s final communiqué to his fans read: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory,” followed by “LLAP,” the acronym for live long and prosper.

For all of us, Leonard Nimoy is in our collective memories as a passionate, inspirational and creative soul who beamed us all up on an enterprising voyage of exploration and discovery.

Buzz Aldrin poses next to the U.S. flag on July 20, 1969, on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. (Photo by NASA/Liaison)

Be assured, there is a great need to reaffirm our country’s space exploration goals. Thanks to Mr. Spock, the stage is set – in more ways than one – to continue our voyage outward into deep space.

During the next few years we must choose whether we rebound as a vibrant nation leading our global civilization toward a permanent presence beyond Earth, or relinquish American leadership in space.

I recently testified before Congress, and in my opinion, there is no more convincing way to demonstrate American leadership for the remainder of this century than on July 20, 2019, the 50th anniversary of our landing on the moon, to commit to and strive toward a permanent human presence on Mars.

Barack Obama: ‘I loved Spock’

Indeed, there are strange new worlds to explore – to seek out new life and start new civilizations.

It is time to boldly go where no man – or woman – has gone before.

Thanks to Leonard Nimoy and his beloved Mr. Spock, the bar has been set high for us to continue humanity’s quest to probe outward in the universe.

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