7 reasons why the second man on the moon is even cooler than you realized.

Buzz Aldrin was 39 years old at the time of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. And yet somehow, his life has gotten bigger since then.

The now-86-year-old just won his first-ever March Madness bracket in a friendly bet against ESPN analyst Dick Vitale — despite the fact that, as he told Upworthy, "I didn't know what a bracket was when I filled it out!"

That might sound like a ridiculous non sequitur factoid (it is), but it just goes to show that even the second man to walk on the moon is still discovering new things.


Buzz has seen a lot in the nearly 50 years since that fateful day that launched him into orbit and infamy; he's even written several books about it (the latest of which just came out last week). Here are just a few of his most out-of-this-world memories — both the times when he felt higher than the moon and the moments when he felt the exact opposite.

Neil Armstrong may have been the first to place his foot down, but Buzz wins first place for general awesomeness. Photo from NASA/Getty Images.

1. On his 80th birthday, Buzz took a ride on a whale shark in the Galapagos.

Apparently, the tour guide had specifically instructed the group not to touch any marine life during their scheduled scuba session. But like no one puts baby in the corner, no one tells Buzz Aldrin not to ride a freaking whale shark.

"Holding onto the dorsal fin of a whale shark, 60 feet underwater," Buzz told Upworthy with a laugh. "It was maybe 40 feet long. It was incredible."


Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

2. He took the first selfie in space way before selfies were cool.

"Clearly, there is a fetish among human beings about [being] first," Buzz once said in an interview with The Telegraph, debunking any perceived jealousy that people thought he might feel about being the second person to walk on the moon, just moments after Neil Armstrong.

That being said, he can still claim several other interstellar firsts — from the selfie above (during Gemini 12 in 1966) to his controversial lunar communion to, yes, peeing on the moon. I mean, hey, someone had to be the first to go.

3. Believe it or not, he was actually rejected from the astronaut program the first time around.

That's right — Buzz almost never got to go to space at all because he had never trained as a test pilot (though he was a fighter pilot during the Korean War). It's a good thing NASA learned the error of their ways and lifted the requirement the next time around.


Also he's probably the only person with enough nerd cred to get away with making a "Star Trek" symbol at a "Transformers" movie premiere, 'cause Buzz DGAF. Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images.

4. He helped pioneer the underwater training system for spacewalking — and broke an early record for the longest freestyle spacewalk.

Buzz was the sixth person to ever walk in space, with a record-breaking duration of 2 hours and 29 minutes on his first trip out. He was also the first astronaut to complete all the objectives of his extravehicular activity. (That's the fancy official terminology for "doing stuff outside of a spaceship.")


Yes, that's a promotional photo for AXE body spray. 'Cause why the hell not? Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images.

5. And after he retired from NASA, Buzz found work as a … used car salesman?

Buzz has been fairly candid over the years about his general frustrations with being a poorly rewarded public figure. "Most people who have received a degree of public recognition find themselves financially pretty well off. Doesn't happen to be the case with astronauts," he said in a 2009 interview with CNN Radio.

To make some extra cash after he retired from NASA and the Air Force, Buzz spent six months or so selling cars in Beverly Hills.

Except he never actually managed to sell a single car.


He's also expressed mixed feelings about his likeness being used as inspiration for Buzz Lightyear, without the benefit of any kind of licensing deal. Photo by Garth Vaughan/Disney via Getty Images.

6. That's due in part to the fact that Buzz has grappled with depression his entire life.

Depression runs in the Aldrin blood. His grandfather died from suicide and so did his mother — just a few weeks before the Apollo 11 lunar mission. Her name was Marion Moon.

With impending fear that his best days were already behind him after he left government service, Buzz hit a major low point in the '70s.

But of course, there's no cure for depression; it haunted him well before the lunar landing, and it continues to loom to this day. "I still see a shrink every couple of weeks," he said in a recent interview with AARP. "When you're depressed, you're convinced it will never end. But when you're on top of things, you're convinced that will never end."


Buzz reading from "Magnificent Desolation" at the London Literature Festival in 2009. Photo by Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images.

7. And today, he's been sober for nearly 40 years.

In addition to depression, Buzz also struggled with alcoholism until the late 1970s. These two issues are separate but often intertwined as one can exacerbate the other. "More and more, I turned to alcohol to ease my mind and see me through the rough times," Buzz wrote in "Magnificent Desolation."

To this day, he acknowledges his drinking as a major factor in the breakup of his first marriage; and he only got into AA because the woman who became his second wife threatened to dump him if he didn't.


Buzz with his third wife, Lois Driggs Cannon, at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2011. The couple divorced later that same year. Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.

Buzz Aldrin's incredible life is a powerful reminder that the highest highs and lowest lows often come hand in hand — but that doesn't make you any less of a Real American Badass™.

There's a certain poetry to the fact that the second man on the moon could also struggle with something like depression. But that notion also distracts from the fact that depression and alcoholism are real diseases, and diseases don't make exceptions for exceptional lives.

"I haven't quit working to the best that I know how to do," Buzz said at the end of our conversation, before going on excitedly about the prospect of colonizing Mars, the future of solar energy, and his plans to visit the North and South Poles (along with a few cryptic references to a "submersible the size of the Titanic").


Look at that face. Do you think that man is kidding? Oh, he's dead serious. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images.

Even at 86, he's still keeping himself busy, searching for the next great horizon.

And that's perhaps the most important takeaway from Buzz Aldrin's life story: Sometimes the best thing to do is to just keep moving.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."