Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon, Has Died at 82

Posted on August 25, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Breaking news.

Neil Armstrong, the astronaut who became first to walk on the moon as commander of Apollo 11, has died. He was 82 years old.

He was born in the small town of Wapakoneta, Ohio, on Aug. 5, 1930.

On July 20, 1969, half a billion people — a sixth of the world’s population at the time — watched a ghostly black-and-white television image as Armstrong backed down the ladder of the lunar landing ship Eagle, planted his left foot on the moon’s surface, and said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Twenty minutes later his crewmate, Buzz Aldrin, joined him, and the world watched as the men spent the next two hours bounding around in the moon’s light gravity, taking rock samples, setting up experiments, and taking now-iconic photographs.

“Isn’t this fun?” Armstrong said over his radio link to Aldrin.

I remember being sat down in front of the television at age 4 with my infant sister by our mother, being told that I “would want to remember this day”. This clip of that moment still gives me chills:

Back in late 1988, my future husband took me to Washington DC for my first visit to the nation’s capitol and one of our stops was to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. There we saw the Apollo 11 module, encased in plexiglass to preserve it. Somehow he found the smallest separation of one of the seams, where I was able to sneak a finger in to touch the craft. It took a moment from my childhood etched permanently in my mind and made it more real- that 3 men were able to go to the moon and back (at that point) almost 20 years.

When one considers the advances in technology over the past half century that have benefited so many, due to the scientists, visionaries and brave pioneers of NASA, it is mind-boggling. Common place items found in over 90% of American households owe thanks to the space program.

I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams what it must have been like to have experienced what Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins did in the years leading up to the launch, the journey and mission itself, or the years since. I am just grateful to them and all who have served in this vital program over the years.

Another clip:

“To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, NASA released partially restored video of a series of 15 memorable moments from the July 20 moonwalk. The source material for the restoration project is the best of the available broadcast-format video. Lowry Digital, Burbank, Calif., is significantly enhancing the video using the company’s proprietary software technology and other restoration techniques. The video is part of a larger restoration project that will be completed in September and provide a newly restored high definition video of the entire Apollo 11 moonwalk. The completed restoration will provide the public with the highest quality video of this historic event.”

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