One Giant Leap

Neil Armstrong died today aged 82 years old.

His friends and family describe Neil as the reluctant hero. He was a man who saw himself as just doing the job assigned to him. In the end, the month we began exploring Mars in earnest with the Curiosity rover, he must have had some pride in knowing his was the foot that first set us on this path. I spoke earlier this month about wanting to leave a legacy behind. This man left the greatest one I can possibly imagine.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.

I wasn’t even alive when those words were spoken, but I understand how they changed the world. No longer were we chained to this tiny blue orb. No longer was this planet the universe that each of us would know for their lives. A man had landed on the moon and nothing would ever be the same again. One day we will go out to the stars and it all started with those words.

He was the first of us to step foot on another heavenly body than this planet. His name will be known by every single person who will ever live. When space travel and interplanetary exploration are old hat, we’ll still remember his name and that one small step that started it all. His is a legacy that will live on forever, a single name encompassing the incredible hard work of countless men and women in an era where a man stepping foot on the moon was used as a simile for something that will never happen (much as we use flying pigs now). He proved it could be done, twice as it happens, and he raised the entire species with him by doing so.

Thank you Neil Armstrong, for taking us to the stars and making that one giant leap for mankind.

Neil Alden Armstrong 1930 – 2012


13 thoughts on “One Giant Leap

    • There are also people who think that Justin Bieber is good looking. Just because their minds haven’t matured enough to see the actual facts and they’re stuck with some bizarre, unrealistic fantasy doesn’t mean that they’re right. Fact is the two groups are deluded.

      But here’s a thought. Let’s imagine that Neil Armstrong wasn’t the first man on the moon. Let’s even go so far as to say that we haven’t successfully put a rocket in space, manned or not. We’re still stuck on this planet and haven’t gone further than jumping really high to get off it. Supposing all that, there is no real difference to my point.

      One day we will spread out to other planets. One day the science will reach the level where the species can spread and colonise different planets. On that day, whether we have already gone beyond a jump or not, people will remember Neil Armstrong as the first of us on another heavenly body. He’ll be up there with the first man in space, the first person on another planet and then the first to leave the solar system and the first to land on a planet outside of this system. He will never be forgotten.

  1. Heard on the radio that they are still discussing whether Armstrong said ‘a man’ or just ‘man’ in his legendary line, when he put his foot on the Moon’s surface: ‘One small step for (a) man…’ etc. This makes me shake my head over the lack of perspective. Can you imagine anything being less important, in the whole picture, as this? I mean, we put a man on the Moon, and forty years after they are still talking about what he said while doing it…

    • I found a newsreader on Twitter trying to politicise his death. She used it as a platform to rant about Obama forcing NASA to focus on Muslim relations. She proved her stance by linking to a two year old story that claimed in the first paragraph that the White House had denied the claims anyway. Either she is trying to say that a denial is proof (in which case I’m calling her out as inbred right now to see how she handles it) or she assumes people will take the link as proof without following it.

      Sadly dozens of crackpots did.

    • I reads about that too, Martin. At the end someone was analyzing that recording and has found out that he actually said that “a” in an interval so short that human ear can’t hear it.
      Wasting of time….

      • He pronounced “for a” as “furra”.

        It makes no sense for him to have simply said “man” as he is opposing that with “mankind” at the end of the phrase. Common sense really. However, people have to get overly involved and show off their new multi-million currency machined off. If they’d stopped and thought for a moment they would have not only figured it out but realised it doesn’t matter.

        The words aren’t important because of what was said, but because of what they signify. Had he said it when entering a new shopping mall then no-one would give a damn. Landing on our moon for the first time and setting foor there… Yeah, he could have sang They’re Coming To Take Me Away and it’d be iconic of that moment because it was the defining moment of human endeavour at that point.

  2. I don’t believe he’s being cremated, Mik, and the official plaque on Eagles decent stage still serves as a reminder. His legacy will endure.
    Rest in peace, Mr. Armstrong.

    • Meant to hunt you down on Opera on the day, but my Dennis rifle has been playing up. That and life got in the way.

      Haven’t gotten around to putting my most recent up there yet, I think.

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