Buzz salutes the American Flag in 1969.
Buzz salutes the American Flag in 1969. NASA/Neil A. Armstrong

Early this morning, a LC-130 cargo plane, piloted by an Air National Guard pilot, touched down at the Amundsen-Scott Station in the South Pole for an emergency medical evacuation. But they weren’t grabbing just any patient—it was Buzz Aldrin, American folk hero and the second man to walk on the moon. Aldrin was “ailing,” the National Science Foundation explained in a brief press release.

Aldrin was at the South Pole with a group called “White Desert,” a British company that takes tourists to climb snowy peaks and see emperor penguins. Aldrin, who is 86 years old, travels often doing space-related advocacy work, most recently unveiling a NASA-focused “Get Your Ass To Mars” campaign. Two days ago, he was tweeting excitedly about the trip—which, after all, was nothing compared to his most famous jaunt.

According to the Washington Post, Aldrin has already been taken from Amundsen-Scott Station to McMurdo, at the tip of the Pole, by an LC-130 cargo plane. Next, he’ll go to New Zealand. As of this morning, he was in stable condition, according to White Desert.

2016, please be kind.