one giant loss for mankind…

R.I.P. Neil Armstrong, 08.05.1930 - 08.25.2012
armstrong illustration

Unless you lived in total media isolation for the last few days, you know that the first man to ever set foot on another world, has died. We truly lost a real hero, a man who found himself leading a mission to the Moon for highly political reasons yet helped elevate the discussion about the first walk on the lunar surface far beyond politics, inspiring generations of engineers and scientists. He could’ve tried to capitalize on his moment of glory but he chose to teach engineering and shy away from the cameras, saying the he would much prefer to be judged by his entire life rather than just one spectacular act. We’ll remember him as a man who found himself right at the center of what is certainly one of the most important moments in human history, and handled his role with exemplary dignity and poise. His one small step still symbolizes what human ambition can accomplish when put to great use.

My sincere hope is that we can name more space-related museums, exhibits, and project sites after him. Maybe someday soon, a child will wander the halls of the Neil Armstrong Museum of Space at the National Mall (there is a similarly named museum near Wapakoneta, Ohio) and ask who Neil Armstrong was on his way to the lunar landing exhibit. His parents will tell him that he was the first human to walk on another celestial body and the child will ask why aren’t there more people walking on other worlds, looking at the suited mannequins and pictures taken by those who did what was considered an impossible dream just a few decades before their flight. And maybe, just maybe, he or she will want to do whatever it takes to take another small step for man and make another giant leap for mankind. No rover, no matter how well built and piloted, could inspire that. But the memory of a man who’s actually looked back at the Earth as a small, fragile blue marble on the horizon of an alien desert just might…

# space // apollo / astronauts / moon / neil armstrong

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