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Buzz Aldrin: Fallen Astronaut Nowak Should Be Admired, Not Excused

Buzz Aldrin said a former astronaut charged with attempted kidnapping should be "admired" — but not excused — for her resolve in allegedly confronting a romantic rival, according to a published report.

Lisa Nowak was arrested in February after police said the married mother of three had driven nearly 1,000 miles to Orlando.

"Astronauts are not superhuman. They lead ordinary lives and have varied personalities," Aldrin said in comments published on Time magazine's Web site.

"I think Nowak should be admired for traveling across the country at night and not getting out of her car to put in gas or go to the restroom. It is not excusable, but it is understandable for an achiever to fall into a trap."

Police said Nowak used diapers during the trip to avoid making stops. Her lawyer disputes that she wore diapers, calling that "the biggest lie in this preposterous tale." The defense also says Nowak didn't drive nonstop.

Nowak, 44, pleaded not guilty to attempted kidnapping, battery and burglary with assault. She is pursuing a temporary insanity defense, according to court documents.

Aldrin, the second man to step on the moon, said he became depressed and had problems with alcohol after returning to Earth. He has spoken of the difficulties of astronauts readjusting to life outside the space program.

"Returning to Earth was challenging for me," he said in response to a question submitted by a Time reader. "I was a celebrity on a pedestal, and I had to live up to that. Like actors and writers who are on and off again in terms of employment, I had a very unstructured life. So the alcoholism and depression, which I inherited, were ripe to flourish."