Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is embroiled in a public feud with his kids over dementia — and the future of his legacy

NASABuzz Aldrin walked on the moon on July 21, 1969.
  • Buzz Aldrin, the former NASA astronaut who was the second man to step foot on the moon, is embroiled in a legal battle with his children.
  • They are feuding over control of Aldrin’s finances, as well as Buzz Aldrin Enterprises, his company, and ShareSpace Foundation, his nonprofit.
  • Aldrin’s lawyer alleges that two of his kids are taking advantage of the 88-year-old, but his family says his mental health is in decline and he’s confused.

The first person to press his boot into the soft, grey regolith on the moon’s surface in July 1969 was Neil Armstrong. Nine minutes later, Buzz Aldrin touched down.

The second man to walk on the moon, Aldrin, 88, is now embroiled in a battle with his family over control of his finances and the future of his namesake businesses.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin at the premiere of The Man Who Unlocked the Universe on June 21, 2018 in West Hollywood, California.Christopher Polk/Getty Images for ‘The Man who Unlocked the Universe’Aldrin in June.

On Friday, Ars Technica reported that the former astronaut was suing two of his kids over control of his finances, as well as Buzz Aldrin Enterprises, his company, and ShareSpace Foundation, his nonprofit.

Aldrin’s taking aim at his son Andrew, his daughter, Janice, and his former business manager, Christina Korp. He’s arguing that they’re taking advantage of him by stealing money and slandering him by saying he has dementia. Aldrin also alleges his family prevented him from getting married for the fourth time, the BBC reported.

On Tuesday, Aldrin’s kids said in a statement that they were saddened by the suit and felt it was “unjustifiable.”

Aldrin’s bitter personal battle hinges on his mental health

First selfie in space Buzz Aldrin auction photoBloomsbury AuctionsAldrin <a href=’https://twitter.com/therealbuzz/status/490293546851635201?lang=en’>joked on Twitter in 2014</a>: ‘Did you know I took the first space selfie during Gemini 12 mission in 1966? BEST SELFIE EVER.’

Dementia experts say it can be tough to diagnose dementia, and no single test can prove it conclusively. Doctors typically use a mix of tests, which can include brain scans, blood tests, and cognitive tasks like memory tests and trivia questions – sometimes even asking a patient to prepare toast – to assess whether their memory and problem-solving skills are intact.

Alzheimer’s is now the sixth leading cause of death in the US,according to the Alzheimer’s Association, but there are promising signs that dementia rates in Americans over 65 are slowing. From 2000 to 2012, the prevalence of dementia in those older adults in the US decreased significantly, to 8.8% from 11.6%, a JAMA study of more than 21,000 adults found.

In April, a voluntary mental evaluation Aldrin took at UCLA turned up clean, The Wall Street Journal reported. Dr. James Spar concluded that Aldrin was “cognitively intact and retains all forms of decisional capacity.”

Aldrin’s kids say that isn’t so.

“We love and respect our father very much and remain hopeful that we can rise above this situation and recover the strong relationship that built this foundation in the first place,” Janice and Andrew Aldrin said in their statement.

Buzz Aldrin is set to undergo a competency exam this week, administered by court-appointed mental-health experts in Florida, The Journal reported.

‘I’m talking about Mars for permanence’

In an interview Aldrin gave right before the suit went public last week, the former astronaut, engineer, and Air Force pilot laid out his vision for how Earthlings might one day soon colonize Mars.

To that end, Aldrin created a special research institute at the Florida Institute of Technology in 2015, tasked with figuring out the many kinks of living on Mars.

“I’m talking about Mars for permanence,” Aldrin told Business Insider on Thursday. “You go prepared to stay.”

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