Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Death of a Spaceman

Neil Armstrong died today from complications resulting from an operation to open up some blocked coronary arteries. He was 82 years old. Armstrong is arguably the best known member of the Apollo 11 team and was the first man to walk on the moon, on a mission that had only a 50% probability of success.

Armstrong was a determinedly private man who disliked the celebrity status that was thrust upon him after returning to Earth. He refused to sign autographs and declined interviews, with one notable exception being an interview he gave in May, 2012, to the chief executive of the Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia. Reportedly he broke his silence due to his fondness for the accountancy profession, as his father had been an auditor.

The full legacy of Armstrong's achievement can never be known, but it stands among the discovery of fire and the invention of the printing press as one of civilization's finest moments. His famous speech (often misinterpreted as " small step for man" rather than "for a man" due to a glitch in the original broadcast) has exemplified the potential for a single individual to change the course of history. The bold spirit of optimism and discovery that Armstrong and Apollo 11 came to represent is sorely missed.

One hopes we can bring it back.

Would you like to know more?
-Read his most recent interview
-Read this statement from NASA administrator Charles Bolden

1 comment:

  1. short and sweet... Well played, sir, well played.