Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is being emergency evacuated from the South Pole

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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, who was the second man to walk on the moon, posted on Twitter Tuesday that he was headed to the South Pole:

Tweet Embed:
https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/803501192810823681
South Pole here I come! #antarctica #WhiteDesert #GYATAntarctica pic.twitter.com/PPjfmKvanZ

Tweet Embed:
https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/803493887201443840
Buzz's Polar Penguins countdown to liftoff has commenced. #Antarctica #WhiteDesert pic.twitter.com/0vDc1yP0gT

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.

During the winter, researchers at Amundsen are much more sealed-off from the world. Only three emergency evacuations have ever been attempted during those harsh, dark months, most recently this past June.

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