I know that, whenever I see the moon, only one word will come to my mind for the rest of my life.
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died aged 82 on Saturday after complications from heart surgery. One of the few photos showing Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 moonwalk Armstrong on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission The American astronaut and ace test pilot - born on 5 August, 1930 in Ohio - was …
How did we go from a species with a space race to a species with a gadget race?
I swear to G-d, if Elon Musk went on Kickstarter* to sell shares in a space exploration company, I'd pledge every last bit of my meagre disposable income, despite knowing full well that I'd probably never see any return on those shares.
*It would have to be a foundation or something, not a public company with shares traded on the open market, in order to prevent it from being taken over by big greedy investors who just want PROFIT NOW!, rather than being interested in a long-term goal.
It's not that different.
It's all just a bit of willy waving, back then it was just trying to get a one up on those darn commies,
"I swear to G-d, if Elon Musk went on Kickstarter* to sell shares in a space exploration company, I'd pledge every last bit of my meagre disposable income"
Err....You mean something like SpaceX?
I always considered that to be a purely commercial venture. Build good rockets for less money than the competition, lift generic comms satellite into orbit, earn moniez.
Not so entertaining.
As for the whole "species with a gadget race" thing... well. The US space program doesn't look as exciting as it once did, but China and India are terribly keen to get up there. They certainly have the will, and in due course they'll have the means, too. Bit of a shame that the only people willing to head for the stars will be doing it over the bodies of their fellow citizens.
When you think of space, nobodies first thought is of say, the Voyager missions, which have arguably delivered more scientific knowledge than the Apollo missions. Everybody thinks of Neil Armstrong and his crew and their exploits on the moon. I thought it funny that he described himself as a "Nerdy Engineer" which isn't bad considering he ranks alongside footballers on the career wish-list of most six year olds!
No they weren't - footballists were never there.
When I was young two jobs were in favour.
Astronaut or traindriver
that in the queen's birthday parade in my home town in Groningen, the Netherlands, in 1970, so many boys were dressed as astronauts. I was one of them. Nothing trumped astronaut for cool as a kid. I am glad my kids got a glimmer of that excitement as they followed the exploits of Andre Kuipers in the ISS. They are now also considering astronaut as a career.
May there forever be nerdy engineers to follow in those famous footsteps on the moon, and beyond. Let's raise a glass to that.
and to him it was just his job. And the fact he didn't make a massive song and dance about it, though I suppose most astronauts have to be pretty cool customers.
It's still amazing to think we've been so far and so sad to think we stopped and never went any further.
Small moves, Ellie, small moves.
No moonflights, no supersonic airliners
God Speed Neil Armstrong!
I'm really sad that you didn't put in the full statement from his family. The last paragraph is particuarly nice.
FAMILY STATEMENT REGARDING THE DEATH OF NEIL ARMSTRONG
WASHINGTON -- The following is a statement from the Armstrong family regarding the death of former test pilot and NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong. He was 82.
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.
Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.
Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.
He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.
As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.
While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.
For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest -- and, hey, if they have a little trouble with the landing, well, they'll have a proper pilot right there to show them how it's done!
The Economist's obituary put it quite well I think: "it is one of the few events of the 20th century that stands any chance of being widely remembered in the 30th. "
So true. In a thousand years the heroes and villains of the last century will be almost unknown. You can imagine names like "Hitler" being almost unknown outside of historians who specialise in the period.
Not "Neil Armstrong" though. As long as there is a human race that remembers its history, children will learn that name, and they'll go outside on a clear night, and shut one eye, and use their thumb to block out the moon. And they'll think of Neil Armstrong all those years ago, doing the same thing in reverse.
One of my heroes. RIP.
The world is smaller again, and another piece of The Dream is gone forever.
Well Done that man. I would have liked to meet you but I wouldn't have intruded on your well-known desire for privacy. The world needs more people like you and those who helped put you on the moon. It's not about skills or ability (though they do help), it's about vision.
People will whine about "just a stunt", which is correct if you insist on viewing the program through the eyes of a politician. I prefer the view through the eyes of the engineers and astronauts, who were opening a new frontier, something we could use about now.
Unfortunately, opening such challenging frontiers takes time and money. The public has a short attention span and is notoriously tight-fisted, and the politicians whose job it is to loosen the grip on the purse strings are venal and have a four year problem horizon.
It's sad that we took all that achievement and focused inward again, on saucepans and watches and phones that fit in a large pocket and cause millions in litigation but cannot provide a satisfactory connection between me and my parents so we can talk. I heard you clearer from the moon in '69 than I hear my mum speaking from Alberta, a comparative stone's throw away.
That small step is by any objective assessment a high point in human achievement, arguably *the* high point to date, and serves as a signpost: look, it's possible. Now do it again, better.
Nice one, Mr Armstrong. Life well-lived.
I was 12 years old when you walked on the moon and it still stands as one of the most memorable days in my life. You and your compatriots changed the world that day, giants standing on the shoulders of many, reaching to touch the very hand of God.
My most sincere condolences to his family, he and his type will be sorely missed. Godbless and Godspeed.
Their fame seems to be 100 to ten to one, Armstrong to Aldrin to Collins. But they all risked their life majorly, and maybe the craziest story is Michael Collins, who went to the moon and sat in the ship while the other two guys went down on the lander - and humanity watched them, except for this one guy, alone backstage, he missed the show.
When asked (and he's been asked this hundreds of times, I'd bet) if the Moon Landings were faked, he'd say 'No.'
When asked how he could be so certain, he never shouted or raged, he simply pointed out that he left a camera there.
And one day, people will go and get it...
RIP Neil, I hope we can all inspire humanity even half as much as you did.
i grew up around usaf test pilots etc,not one of them had a good word for armstrong,he was arrogant,chip on shoulder who had freinds in powerful positions.
hero,my arse.con artist more like.
Nothing to do with those fly boys ego's being put out of shape then?
Ah, hearsay. Wonderful. I might have taken notice if you had known him personally, but tittle tattle and gossip is SOOOO much better isn't it.
I really don't give a toss whether it is true or not, but MY hearsay says NOT, but he was still the first man on the moon, so tough shit to all the nasty minded USAF wannabes!!!!
and the reason why most of them wanted nothing to do with space flights?
a)they wanted a nice,quiet life with their families.
b) they did,nt trust nasa.
how many of you lot actualy met him then.
he always reminded me of the mindless pilot who bombed hiroshima,another great achievment by the americans.
great folk to get the job done,both of them,but you would'nt want them as a "friend.