Christmas wish granted for ‘space nut’ and his nine-year-old son

A handwritten letter from 9-year-old Robert from Adelaide had a special request for his ‘space nut’ dad. Robert wanted to surprise his dad at Christmas with Buzz Aldrin’s autograph.

The letter the Academy received from young Robert.

The problem was that Buzz Aldrin had toured Australia last year and it was too late to request an autograph. So, how could the Academy honour the Christmas wish of this boy and his father?

The solution was to send Robert a signed poster of Academy Fellow and Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt AC FAA FRS. Keen to foster an interest in science in the young (and not so young), Professor Schmidt was happy to have a poster with his autograph sent to Robert.

Daren thanks the Academy for the gift from his son Robert.

Academy President Professor Andrew Holmes AC PresAA FRS FTSE and other Academy representatives were able to meet both Robert and his dad Daren at the Academy’s IMMORTALITY event in Adelaide.

What happened next?

Through the powers of social media Mars One participant Josh Richards saw our story in February about Robert’s Christmas wish…

I have Buzz Aldrin’s signature,’ Josh wrote via Facebook, ‘and I’d love to get it to the boy and his family.

So the Academy organised for the family to attend Josh's Planet Talk at WOMADdelaide in March to hear him speak about the Mars One mission.

And then, Josh gave nine-year-old Robert and his space-nut dad Buzz’s signature.

Academy Fellow, Professor Robyn Williams, with young Robert and Josh Richards at the WOMADelaide Festival.

It was a touching moment and there weren’t many dry eyes in the room as Robert got his wish. The Academy thanks Josh for his generous and inspiring act of kindness and the many people who helped make this dream come true.

Another big highlight for Robert and his family was meeting radio legend and Academy Fellow Professor Robyn Williams AM FAA, from the ABC Science Show.

© 2020 Australian Academy of Science