Buzz Aldrin in Conversation with Brian Cox, The Science Museum, London. February 2016.
We didn't think we were going to get to this event as the day the tickets went on sale the Science Museum's website crashed and by the time I gained access all of the tickets were gone. Talking with the museum's social media team on Twitter lead me to registering our continued interest on a waiting list and then two days before the event patience paid off and I got a call offering me the four tickets I wanted.
The drama continued as on the day of the event Mr Norfolkbookworm was poorly and this necessitated a huge change of plans, a mad dash to the train station and then an awkward cross country journey to London. It was all worth it when I made it to St Pancras and met my brother-in-law and nephew. A very sad husband however as he is the original space-nut in the family.
On arriving at the museum we collected our tickets and then went to explore the space gallery, it wasn't too crowded at this point and we spent a lot of time looking at the exhibits and explaining to N about the Apollo program. We also spent some time watching the floating globe waving at Nanny and Grandad who are currently in Australia!
From here we went into the big gallery and looked at the trains, planes, cars and of course the Apollo 10 capsule. After a short break for lunch we made our way to the IMAX gallery and waited until it was time to take our seats for the talk. Buzz's children's book about Mars kept us occupied during this wait and the museum's free Wi-Fi helped us look things up to add more details to what we were reading.
Once we were in our seats we got comfortable and then out came Brian Cox and Buzz Aldrin:
The event was then a conversation between the two men and started with the first selfie in space aboard Gemini 12, then talked about the Apollo program and the moon landing then went on to Buzz's plans for colonisation and 'universal' space cooperation.
If I am being honest this wasn't the best astronaut event I have attended, Cox tried his hardest to moderate and to keep the talk suitable for the audience (about half children under 10 - which was brilliant!) but Aldrin was a little vague and rambling. I was very impressed with the behaviour of the children in the audience however - my nephew included - as everyone was very quiet and respectful. After the moderated session the audience got to ask questions and although N and I had one we sadly weren't picked to ask it.
After this came the book signing and it was run brilliantly, I think that the Science Museum have been taking lessons from Space Lectures, and very quickly we were in line to meet Buzz and we were allowed to ask him our question in person "how did the moon smell?" It was very noisy and we think the answer was 'terrible' but Buzz made really good eye contact with N and they seemed to really connect.
We all enjoyed the event and meeting the 2nd man to walk on the moon is something we will all remember, I had heard him speak before but hadn't got to meet him.
Before we went to the talk however N posed in front of the Apollo 10 capsule in a real astronaut pose alongside his class mascot Jelly the Giraffe:
We'd also talked about space travel and N had decided he didn't want to go to Mars right now as the journey is 8 months long and he'd miss his birthday, however he did want to go and visit Tim Peake on the ISS. I tweeted this on the way home and incredibly Tim Peake noticed the tweet and liked it which just made an already magical day even more special.