Neil Armstrong Passes Away

Neil Armstrong

The death of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has prompted a bout of soul-searching about America’s national destiny as well as mourning for an icon of the 20th century.

As tributes continued to pour in on Sunday for the former astronaut who died aged 82 there were also expressions of regret that no human has been back to the moon since 1972, just three years after Armstrong set foot on it and gave his famous “giant leap for mankind” speech.

Elliot Pulham, chief executive of the Space Foundation, decried today’s lack of backing for America’s space agency Nasa, compared with the vast resources devoted to the moon landings programme in the 1960s.

“In this age of timid exploration goals and paltry Nasa budgets, Armstrong looms as a larger-than-life reminder of what our nation was once capable of,” he said. Pulham said the real life drama of Armstrong’s moon landing – watched by a fifth of the world’s population – was unlikely to be repeated now except fictionally in a summer blockbuster.

He said: “In an age when Hollywood and professional sports manufacture so-called ‘heroes’, Armstrong exemplified the right stuff. He was the real deal.”

Armstrong died on Saturday following heart problems that ensued after he underwent bypass surgery near his Ohio home earlier this month. His recovery had been thought to be going well, and his death came as a surprise to many.

American hero

A statement released by his family gave few details, but spoke of a “reluctant American hero” and said to those who might want to pay tribute to him: “Honour 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.”

Speaking from the White House, Barack Obama said the self-declared “nerdy” engineer was “among the greatest of American heroes – not just of his time, but of all time”. He added: “And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.”

Armstrong’s crew member on Apollo 11 and the second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, said he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of his good friend and “space exploration companion” with whom he had hoped to mark the 50th anniversary of their mission in 2019.

“Whenever I look at the moon I am reminded of that precious moment, over four decades ago, when Neil and I stood on the desolate, barren, yet beautiful, Sea of Tranquillity,” he said in a statement. “Looking back at our brilliant blue planet Earth suspended in the darkness of space, I realised that even though we were farther away from Earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone.

“Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by many millions of others from around the world in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a historic moment in human history.”

Across the US, there was a sense that he represented the achievement of a past age of American greatness. Many focused on how the bid for the moon had been begun by John F Kennedy who as president audaciously set the target of putting a man there in a 1961 speech.

Armstrong – a quiet man who shunned fame – seemed to symbolise that dream fulfilment of a national goal, rather than the current situation which has seen Nasa cancel or curtail numerous missions in the face of budget squeezes.

Former astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man on the moon, said: “He [Kennedy] challenged us to do something people thought was impossible. What couldn’t be done. Neil was the focal point of that … He was the epitome of doing something that people thought was impossible.”

Others too mourned Armstrong by decrying the state of the US. “Today we cannot pass a budget through both houses of Congress in as much time as it took to send a man into orbit,” wrote columnist Andrew Pasternak on the news and culture website Policymic. “The time it took to rebuild lower Manhattan after 9/11 … will be longer than it took to build an entire space program and send a man to the moon.”

Of course, Nasa does have its modern triumphs. Its engineers have just achieved the remarkable feat of landing a nuclear-powered rover on Mars. The robotic geologist is designed to spend years on the Martian surface. Another Mars mission has also just been announced, this one involving a more simple lander designed to drill below the planet’s surface.

But these endeavours do not even come close to matching the excitement of Armstrong’s success: no doubt in part because of the human element.

Nasa administrator Charles Bolden seemed to hint at that in his statement of tribute. “As we enter this next era of space exploration, we do so standing on the shoulders of Neil Armstrong,” he said.

Armstrong is believed to have shared the sense of scepticism and dismay at Nasa’s diminished ambitions. Eric Berger, who runs the SciGuy science blog, revealed that earlier this month he had been forwarded an email that Armstrong and other space exploration veterans had been circulating. It expressed frustration at the current travails of Nasa and quoted Yogi Berra, an American baseball legend. According to Berger the quote read: “If you don’t know where you are going, you might not get there.”

  1. I have bookmarked this site

  2. I’m now not positive where you’re getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend a while learning much more or working out more. Thank you for great info I was in search of this info for my mission.

  3. Hey there, You’ve performed a great job. I will certainly digg it and for my part recommend to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

    • Thank U..Tech hanoi……Excellent your website… I am going to spend more time researching this type of information

  4. Hello there, I discovered your blog by means of Google even as looking for a comparable topic, your web site got here up, it appears good. I have added to favourites|added to my bookmarks.

  5. Hey very nice web site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally?I’m happy to seek out numerous useful information here within the submit, we want develop extra techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  6. Woah this weblog is excellent i really like reading your posts. Stay up the great work! You realize, lots of persons are searching round for this info, you could aid them greatly.

  7. Hello, i feel that i saw you visited my blog so i got here to go back the choose?.I am trying to find things to enhance my website!I guess its adequate to make use of a few of your ideas!!

  8. You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation however I find this matter to be actually one thing which I feel I would never understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very large for me. I am taking a look forward on your next publish, I will attempt to get the grasp of it!

  9. I think other website proprietors should take this web site as an model, very clean and magnificent user genial style and design, let alone the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  10. Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice whilst you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a weblog site? The account aided me a appropriate deal. I have been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided shiny transparent concept

  11. I savor, result in I discovered just what I was looking for. You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  12. I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of house . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this website. Studying this info So i’m happy to exhibit that I have a very good uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed. I most undoubtedly will make certain to do not fail to remember this website and provides it a glance regularly.

  13. That is really attention-grabbing, You are a very professional blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and sit up for seeking more of your excellent post. Additionally, I have shared your website in my social networks

    • Thnks 4 visit my blog…

  14. Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  15. Good article once again. I am looking forward for your next post;)

  16. magnificent issues altogether, you simply gained a brand new reader. What would you suggest about your post that you made some days ago? Any certain?

  17. Aw, this was a really nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a great article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never seem to get anything done.

  18. Wow, awesome site. Just how long it must of try write?!

  19. Thanks for the post, can you make it so I get an alert email when you make a fresh article? http://fiverr.com/worldofseo

  20. After going over a few of the blog posts on your blog, I seriously appreciate your way of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my website too and tell me your opinion.

  21. In 1970 he married his 1st wife Irene, and soon had his son Michael.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: