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