Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin has spoken out for the first time since being hospitalised in New Zealand after being evacuated from Antarctica this month.

The 86-year-old had to be rushed to a hospital in Christchurch after a health scare during his big trip to the South Pole.

Speaking for the first time on the US-based Today Show, he explained what led to the dramatic evacuation.

"I got out of breath - you know, nothing new except it's a little more concentrated. It's cold, you've got a lot of heavy stuff and not enough air to breathe out there,'' he said.


Aldrin said he felt motivated to "press on'' to the South Pole.

"When turning back is about as difficult as pressing on, you press on because you've got an objective - especially when they told me that I'd just set a record: The oldest guy to the South Pole.

"See now it was worth it - really,'' he laughed.

Last week, Aldrin's manager, Christina Korp, posted photos of the famous astronaut in hospital and later on a plane home.

She wrote on Twitter that they hoped to be back in New Zealand at some point, for a different reason, however.

"Bye, bye New Zealand! Hope to see you again! But next time for vacation not evacuation.''

Yesterday, Aldrin shared a photo of himself on his official Twitter page at the Apollo/Saturn V Centre.

"I'm feeling better and my rocket is ready for launch.''


He finished his Tweet with the #GYATM hashtag, which stands for "Get your ass to Mars.''

Aldrin, who hopes humans will get to to Mars by 2035, is also pictured sporting a T-shirt with a picture of an astronaut holding an American flag standing on a red planet.

The logo reads: "From America to Mars.''