The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced Thursday morning that it will provide a "humanitarian medical evacuation flight" from the South Pole for an "ailing" Buzz Aldrin.
Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon, joining Neil Armstrong in the Apollo 11 Lunar Module in July 1969. He has since become an author and advocate for crewed missions to Mars. He is 86, and no further information is available as to his condition.
Aldrin posted on Twitter Tuesday that he was headed to the South Pole, though it is unclear exactly when he arrived:
Apollo 11 astronauts Mike Collins (left), Neil Armstrong (centre), and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, in front of the Lunar Landing Module Simulator at the Kennedy Space Centre, USA, prior to their landing on the moon. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
US Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, walking on the Moon July 20 1969. Taken during the first Lunar landing of the Apollo 11 space mission by NASA. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission in a photo released by NASA's Apollo Archives project. (Photo via NASA)
WASHINGTON, : The crew of Apollo 11 Michael Collins (L), Neil Armstrong (C) and Buzz Aldrin stand in front of the Apollo command module Columbia after US Vice President Al Gore awarded them the Samuel P. Langley medal 20 July, 1999 at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Armstrong was the first man to step on the moon 30 years ago 20 July 1969 followed by Aldrin while Collins remained in the orbiting command module. AFP PHOTO/Joyce NALTCHAYAN (Photo credit should read JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images)
370150 04: Buzz Aldrin, NASA astronaut and lunar module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission, poses for a photograph May 25, 2000 at Borders Books in Chicago. Aldrin was at the bookstore to discuss and sign copies of his new book 'The Return.' (Photo by Tim Boyle/Newsmakers)
Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin speaks during the Olender Foundation 15th Anniversary Awards presentation ceremony December 6, 2000 at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Aldrin was presented with the American''s Role Model 2001 Award. (Photo by Alex Wong/Newsmakers)
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin poses with his wife Lois outside Mr. Chow''s restaurant June 11, 2001 in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Getty Images)
Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin talks about the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster during a taping of NBC's 'Meet the Press' February 2, 2003 at the NBC studios in Washington, DC. Columbia disintegrated as it returned to Earth after a 16-day mission, killing all seven astronauts aboard. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Space pioneer Buzz Aldrin announces AXE to Send 22 Guys to Space with New Apollo Campaign at American Museum of Natural History on January 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for AXE)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 14: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Baroness Kimberly Moore arrive at Women's Image Network's 16th annual Women's Image Awards at Beverly Hills Women's Club on December 14, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 24: Former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin prepares to testify before the Senate Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee on Capitol Hill February 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on the topic of 'U.S. Human Exploration Goals and Commercial Space Competitiveness.' (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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The NSF's statement said that an NSF plane will fly Aldrin from the Amundsen-Scott research station at the South Pole to McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast. At that point ski-equipped LC-130 cargo planes flown by the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard will haul him to New Zealand "as soon as possible."
It's the start of summer in Antarctica, when travel to Amundsen-Scott is relatively routine, if not cheap or easy.