In Remembrance: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Neil Armstrong, First Man to Walk the Moon

This year, we remember great contributors to the astronomy community. First Sally Ride, first woman in space. Now Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the surface of the Moon. On August 25, 2012, astronaut Neil Armstrong suffered a coronary artery blockage and passed away at the age of 82. Armstrong shall forever be remembered by his spectacular Apollo 11 success and memorable quote: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Indeed true, space exploration has blossomed in the past decades, with NASA’s space probes, rovers, ISS, and precision telescopes (Hubble telescope). Space innovations has translated into commercial improvement. Whatever scientists invent for space missions eventually finds itself modified for commercial use (e.g. laser, GPS, radar). Indeed, Armstrong was not only an astronaut but also a test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, and U.S. Naval Aviator. His first spaceflight was as a command pilot for NASA’s Gemini 8 mission in 1966. His second and last spaceflight, of course, was as the commander of the Apollo 11 mission in July of 1969. For this feat with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, Armstrong received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and Congressional Gold Medal. He may have left this Earth, but his legacy remains with us.

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6 thoughts on “In Remembrance: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

  1. You know the craziest thing about his achievement isn’t the fact that he was the first to walk on the moon, it’s the fact that he controlled a piece of cheap spacecraft and landed it safely on the moon!!!
    Just think about this, a modern day smartphone is light years more advanced than Armstrong’s spacecraft. It is also documented that his spacecraft malfunctioned during the landing and he had to manually maneuver to land the craft, and he almost collided into a boulder as a result of the malfunction.
    I often think about what would have happened if the blastoff was few seconds delayed, or if it was anybody other than Armstrong controlling the spacecraft…pretty crazy, isn’t it?

    • Unfortunately, many people only know about Armstrong’s historic landing. The media aggrandized his famous one-liner and first step on the moon. He may have landed a not-so-technologically-advanced spacecraft, but it was a start for the many generations of space exploration. Kudos to Armstrong for his maneuvering skills!
      Tina

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