Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket-protector nerdy engineer — born under the law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-flow dynamics, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow.

Neil Armstrong (speaking in 2000)

Neil Armstrong

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.

4 thoughts

  1. It is such a sad loss for his family and friends.

    For the rest of us, whilst he is not the first Apollo astronaut to have visited the Moon who has died, it should serve as a stark reminder that we are going to face the inevitability that we shall lose them all in the not too distant future. These are the only humans to have walked on the surface of another planetary body. Maybe this is something we take for granted but it is an achievement that differentiates us, not only from other species on our home planet, but possibly in the context of the wider galaxy. Assuming complex and intelligent life is out there, we benefit from a combination of extraordinarily fortunate ‘coincidences’ that have allowed us to develop and evolve to this point. If we are as rare as some astrobiologists might believe, we have an imperative and perhaps even a responsibility to resurrect manned missions beyond low-earth orbit.

    Neil Armstrong was a real hero, not only because of what he achieved in Apollo and Gemini, but for the way he lived his life after his work with NASA. It could only ever have been impossible for him to convey what he experienced on the Moon – it was simply too personal and too profound an experience for each one of them (many of them needed to find ways to deal with their experiences – religion, art, drugs and alcohol) and he in particular bore the brunt of our desire to know and understand. What seemed wonderful about Neil Armstrong was that he recognized the achievements of Apollo 11 as being that of so many more than himself and he continued to live his life with a sense of quiet modesty, the cool and calm composure that earned him the right to command and a desire for privacy that was both inspiring and frustrating for the rest of us.

    We must reach further. We must go back to the Moon and then on to Mars. There is always a significant scientific motivation for doing so but equally important, there is a human need to do so. I can think of no greater tribute.

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