Monday, August 27, 2012

Farewell Neil Armstrong

First we lose the first woman in space, Sally Ride, and now the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong.  This has been a rough couple of months for the NASA community.  Neil Armstrong is one of the most famous names of NASA's space program, if not the most famous, and one of the more inspiring figures in all of American and maybe even world history.  Just thinking about what to write right now has me tearing up a little bit.
One of my favorite qualities of Neil was the fact that, despite being the first man ever to set foot on a celestial body, he was actually so down to Earth.  He was kind, and humble, and a self-professed nerdy engineer to the end, which I love.  My favorite quote of his is in the image above.

However to the rest of the world it is undeniable that he was much more than that.  This article does a wonderful job summing up a lot of really great milestones in his life and just the general awe of what Armstrong accomplished: 

"An estimated 600 million people - a fifth of the world's population - watched and listened to the landing, the largest audience for any single event in history.

Parents huddled with their children in front of the family television, mesmerized by what they were witnessing. Farmers abandoned their nightly milking duties, and motorists pulled off the highway and checked into motels just to see the moonwalk.

Television-less campers in California ran to their cars to catch the word on the radio. Boy Scouts at a camp in Michigan watched on a generator-powered television supplied by a parent.

Afterward, people walked out of their homes and gazed at the moon, in awe of what they had just seen. Others peeked through telescopes in hopes of spotting the astronauts."

THIS, what Neil Armstrong and the NASA of the 60's accomplished, is where we need to be again.  What Neil inspired in hundreds of millions of people seems practically impossible nowadays, but it's what we should all aspire for.  Neil's legacy will truly never be forgotten.  Hundreds of thousands of years from now, what he accomplished will still be in the history books as notable, ground breaking, brave, and inspirational.

Rest in peace Neil Armstrong.

(images from here, here, and here)

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