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‘Ailing’ Buzz Aldrin in Emergency Evacuation from South Pole

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Famed astronaut Buzz Aldrin had to be evacuated from the South Pole for medical reasons, the National Science Foundation said Thursday, and will be taken to nearby New Zealand for treatment.

The NSF, which is providing the air lift, said that a New York Air National Guard plane will transport Aldrin from Antarctica to New Zealand “as soon as possible.” He appears to have been in Antartica as a tourist, posting several photos in advance of his journey to Twitter.

The emergency request for an “ailing visitor” was made by The Antarctic Company, a South African tourism company, according to the NSF. The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators confirmed Aldrin’s evacuation, saying he was “stable” when he was taken from the South Pole to McMurdo base in Antarctica.

Aldrin, 86, was the second man to walk on the moon as part of the 1969 Apollo 11 crew.

Aldrin has focused his time on supporting human colonization of Mars in recent years.


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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com