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Famous Last Words: Buzz Aldrin

The astronaut may have conquered the moon—but is Mars next? Here, his handwriting brings him back to earth

“What did it feel like to step on the moon?” It’s a question astronaut Buzz Aldrin gets asked quite often, but his answer isn’t exactly the impassioned, poetic response one might expect. “Through training, our minds are conditioned not to focus on emotions,” he says. “Fighter pilots like myself—or those who have been in combat—we don’t lead with emotions. We do what is required to the best of our knowledge beforehand and execute. That’s why I think most astronauts aren’t given to flowery responses.”

Aldrin’s handwriting tells a similarly unsentimental story. According to Toronto-based graphologist Annette Poizner, the astronaut’s angular writing style suggests a technically minded person. “He strips down letters rather than embellishing them and turning them into round, puffy characters. Angular types strip down ideas and are highly analytical,” she explains.

The quote below—from President John F. Kennedy’s iconic 1962 “Moon” speech—is one Aldrin considers his favorite. “I like it because of the applicability of his observation. When things get tough and disappointing, people are tempted to do something easy and ignore the difficulties. I’ve found that’s not a very good mentality,” says Aldrin. Not to mention, he adds, “that speech helped set our entire space program in motion.”

These days, Aldrin’s focus extends far beyond the moon. His latest book, Mission to Mars, lays the groundwork for a plan to reach the Red Planet by 2035.

At the age of 83, Aldrin continues to be a leading authority on space exploration and rocket science. But there is one arena where his expertise falls short. “I’m not exactly known for handwriting proficiency,” says the Mars enthusiast. “I took a ‘military, topography and graphics’ course at MIT, and ever since, I began mixing lowercase and uppercase. I guess that’s a no-no?”

1.

“Look at the firm pressure that he uses. It’s easier to write without creating such a strong imprint, but he enjoys that exertion. He is strong-willed, secure and emphatic.”

2.

“Block printing indicates a person who is quite defiant and self-assured. He follows rules to the degree that those rules make sense to him. He’s a leader, not a follower.”

3.

“We know he can do rounded strokes—look at the roundness of the capital A—but he prefers angles. Angular writers are critical thinkers that love to debate.”

4.

“Look at the underscore beneath his signature. There’s a confidence communicated, an energy that indicates anything he says or does he is definite about.”

5.

“People embed symbols in their handwriting—notice the prominent I in his signature. He has an affinity for the concept of ‘I’ as in ‘me, myself and I.’ He is an independent.”

6.

“People who write large tend to be larger-than-life characters who find themselves at the center of attention and otherwise enjoy being in a position of prominence.”

7.

“His spacing is clear and well considered—he has good organizational skills.”

 

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