RIP, Neil Armstrong -- First Man on the Moon

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RIP, Neil Armstrong -- First Man on the Moon

Post by GeorgeC » August 25th, 2012, 9:43 pm

Just got released today.

Neil Armstrong died from complications brought about by heart bypass surgery earlier this month.

He was 82.

************

This year was the 43rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing -- mankind's first moon landing, the first landing on an extraterrestrial (planetary-sense) body, and truly the first step into the outer reaches of space. While it was inarguably the culmination of a technological arms race initiated between the Soviet Union and the United States at the beginning of the 1960s, it became a symbol of something else. Even the Soviets, humbled by not being able to develop their own succesful lunar technology, acknowledged it as a great feat and offered congratulations to the American astronauts.

Armstrong himself defused the international situation with eloquence -- "That's one small step for a man. One giant leap for manking."

And indeed it was... It was an event whose impact and significance still isn't fully understood or appreciated by the majority of the living public. Often ascribed as the ultimate technological achievement of humanity thus far even that description doesn't adequately sum up this moment in history.

The Apollo 11 moon landing was the true start of mankind's attempts to leave the cradle of Earth as it were. It was a moment shared by many and for one instant there was a glimpse of the potential of a mass of humanity when united in a common goal. Yes, the American public's enthusiasm for the manned space program dimmed shortly afterwards -- and it's never truly recovered since -- BUT that moment can never be undone and the footprints and equipment left behind by twelve American astronauts will remain as a monument to their sacrifices and achievements as well as those of the engineers, technicians, and other supporting them behind the scenes.

Armstrong was only the first to step on the moon. A modest man with many piloting achievements to his credit and softspoken-nature, he retired quickly from public life and gave few interviews or said much in public afterwards. He only recently returned briefly to express concern and disappointment with the recent Obama administration cancellations in the replacement for the retired space shuttle and the genuine lack of focus on the future goals of the manned space program he became the most famous graduate of.

Armstrong is arguably the most significant personality to die in recent memory and certainly the most famous astronaut, test pilot, Ohioan, and American citizen to pass away this decade.

He will be missed...

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Re: RIP, Neil Armstrong -- First Man on the Moon

Post by Ben » August 26th, 2012, 4:02 am

But...will he really, George? Really? As you say, Armstrong pretty much became a recluse after making human history. He will be remembered, absolutely, and for incredible reason...but "missed"? With respect, I just don't think so: that's just something nice that people wheel out all too often when someone has passed away (and, just two years into this decade I'd also say Steve Jobs is a "significant personality", and there's a guy, cut down in his prime, whose ingenuity and foresight will be missed). And, by the way...

"One giant leap for manking"?

I haven't had a good mank in quite a while... ;)

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