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Neil Armstrong, First Earthling To Walk On the Moon, Dead At 82

589px-Neil_Armstrong

 The great mass of people living one thousand years from now will probably be unable to confidently name a 20th century president, prime minister, entrepreneur, or athlete. But they'll almost all know the name of Neil Armstrong.

In 1969, Neil Armstrong was one of several dozen former test-pilots -- all smart, all confirmed adrenaline junkies -- who'd spent the last decade working for NASA, prepping for a variety of ludicrously dangerous possible missions into space. He commanded the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, and, on July 20th of that year, was the first Earthling to walk on it. What he said when he set foot on that alien world is perhaps the most well-known English language phrase of the last century, even though the technology used to relay the message to Earth might have bungled it. What Armstrong thought he said -- or, at least, what he meant to say -- was: "One small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind."

After departing from the Apollo's LEM module, Mr. Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin went for a three-hour, very moonlit walk.

Upon returning to Earth, Mr. Armstrong stayed there. He taught; he acted as a spokesman for various companies, he kept to himself. From the Washington Post:

“I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer,” he said in February 2000 in one of his rare public appearances. “And I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession.”

A man who kept away from cameras, Armstrong went public in 2010 with his concerns about President Barack Obama’s space policy that shifted attention away from a return to the moon and emphasized private companies developing spaceships. He testified before Congress and in an email to The Associated Press, Armstrong said he had “substantial reservations,” and along with more than two dozen Apollo-era veterans, he signed a letter calling the plan a “misguided proposal that forces NASA out of human space operations for the foreseeable future.”

No Earthlings have visited the moon since 1972.

Mr. Armstrong died today from complications following a medical procedure. He was 82 years old.

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Comments

  1. "No Earthlings have visited the moon since 1972."

    little green men though LOL just kiding

    R.I.P. Neil Armstrong, and if anyone deserves a state funeral/ vieiwg under the capitol rotunda or better yet at NASA itself = its Neil...full honers all week

    Posted by: say what | Aug 25, 2012 4:26:42 PM


  2. "First Earthling to walk on the Moon."

    Great line and the imagination that we should all have about space exploration: perhaps, we are not alone in the Universe.

    btw, he also settled that whole, "the Moon is made of green cheese" thing once and for all.

    Posted by: gr8guya | Aug 25, 2012 4:39:44 PM


  3. He took "one small step" where no man had taken before. May his mission continue in perfect harmony. RIP.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Aug 25, 2012 4:40:22 PM


  4. Will he come out of the closet now?

    Posted by: Rainbow Vigil | Aug 25, 2012 4:49:15 PM


  5. I watched him walk on the moon when I was four years old - and remember it like it was last year. That day inspired my passion for astronomy.

    "Ill be looking at the moon... and I'll be seeing you."

    RIP and thanks, Neil.

    Posted by: Tre | Aug 25, 2012 4:49:50 PM


  6. A giant man with a small ego. A true hero.

    Posted by: grench | Aug 25, 2012 4:50:57 PM


  7. transcript of President Obama's WH statment on the passing of Neil Armstrong

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/25/1124187/-President-Obama-s-statement-on-the-passing-of-Neil-Armstrong

    Posted by: say what | Aug 25, 2012 5:45:05 PM


  8. If yo have a nation believing in gods and devils and astrology and ghosts why not serve them a Moon-walking story. Of course they will swallow it. Reason is week among the masses.

    Posted by: Analyst | Aug 25, 2012 6:02:04 PM


  9. BTK --

    So long as there is an America, people 1000 years from now will know TR, FDR, JFK and possibly Clinton, if only for the fact that Clinton oversaw what could possibly be seen the height of America as an hegemonic world-wide military and financial empire, and was the first President to live in a modern-day media circus of the 24 hour news cycle.

    The cult of Ronald Reagan will also endure, even if it has little to do with the actual man himself.

    But, yeah, you're right... Armstrong's name is going to be up there in the pantheon of American historical figures, too. RIP Neil Armstrong.

    Posted by: Ryan | Aug 25, 2012 6:03:48 PM


  10. Ryan:

    Thanks for writing. I don't know -- it was about 1,000 years ago that Leif Eiriksson visited the Americas, and his dad, Erik The Red, settled Greenland. We still know their names. But of the many major political figures of that era, I think only The Holy Roman Emperor Otto II is still famous.

    - BKT

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Aug 25, 2012 6:22:03 PM


  11. RIP Neil.

    Posted by: Chicklets | Aug 25, 2012 6:22:58 PM


  12. Not the first Earthling to die on Earth, however.

    Posted by: Malaysian Ho | Aug 25, 2012 7:20:17 PM


  13. I know I'll get over it tomorrow, but Neil Armstrong's death kinda hit me a little harder than I thought it would. I mean, to be honest for a while I thought he died a long time ago because all I keep seeing these days is Buzz Aldrin. But when I was in grade school I drew him and Buzz Aldrin exploring the moon everyday. Like, everyday. Didn't even pay attention in class. But astronauts and cosmonauts were my heroes when I was a kid. They were the mythical dieties I worshipped during my childhood, and Neil Armstrong was Zeus. Yet I knew very, very little about him. Turns out that's how he wanted it to be.

    Posted by: J.J. In The Navy | Aug 25, 2012 7:21:30 PM


  14. Neil Armstrong, R.I.P.

    Small minds thrive among these petty, grudging comments just as they thrive among those who would curtail one of greatest stories of our modern era: the innovative and far-sighted NASA.

    And, Mr. Armstrong, you are right. Turning over space exploration to private corporations is extremely dangerous and will only further enhance humanity's slide into numbing mediocrity.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Aug 25, 2012 7:27:36 PM


  15. Growing up, Neil Armstrong was the uncle of my friends next door. I actually got to meet him a few times - before and after the walk on the moon (I remember saying to my friends that the man who walked on the moon had the same name and their uncle - what can I say, I was pretty young). I do remember he would wear a ball cap and sunglasses after so people wouldn't recognize him. Low key and just a regular guy.

    Posted by: JB | Aug 25, 2012 7:35:16 PM


  16. :(

    Posted by: Will | Aug 25, 2012 7:37:28 PM


  17. I was 9, living on an Air Force base in Hawaii and a bunch of us were huddled around the black & white TV we had. It was mind-blowing to see it then, it's astonishing that humans actually accomplished it in less than 10 years using technology that's primitive by today's standards.

    "We came in peace for all mankind".

    RIP Mr. Armstrong.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Aug 25, 2012 7:40:32 PM


  18. A modest American hero of monumental bravery. The best memorial we could make for him would be to reinstate funding for NASA that have been cut by the current government, reinvest in the sciences in schools and continue to wonder whats out there.

    Posted by: I wont grow up | Aug 25, 2012 8:34:39 PM


  19. A modest American hero of monumental bravery. The best memorial we could make for him would be to reinstate funding for NASA that have been cut by the current government, reinvest in the sciences in schools and continue to wonder whats out there.

    Posted by: I wont grow up | Aug 25, 2012 8:34:40 PM


  20. Names that last 1000 years: artists, composers, playwrights, authors, scientists, philosophers, the odd conquering general or two, and explorers.

    Names that don't last 100 years: princes, thieves, actors, singers, athletes, journalists, critics, businessmen and most politicians.

    Landing on the moon was so staggering an achievement Neil's name may last 10000 years or more. His achievement is also recorded on the Voyager spacecraft heading to the stars.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 25, 2012 8:49:25 PM


  21. RIP Neil Armstrong.

    A true American hero, he will never be forgotten.

    Posted by: Peter M. | Aug 25, 2012 9:11:14 PM


  22. RIP Neil Armstrong.

    A true American hero, he will never be forgotten.

    Posted by: Peter M. | Aug 25, 2012 9:11:14 PM


  23. haha love your response, BKT. you obviously thought hard about your claim in the article in case anyone decided to challenge you. a bytch came prepared!! (and, no, i dont really know who Otto II is, although it's possible i did know during my high school days; of course, this inability of mine only further proves your point.)

    Posted by: redball | Aug 26, 2012 3:03:00 AM


  24. RIP Neil Armstrong.

    He is one of the greatest man, not for America only, but entire world.

    Posted by: Kalin @ Mobile marketing | Aug 26, 2012 4:31:20 AM


  25. I'd like to say Rest in Peace, but restless heroes like Armstrong are on to their next adventure.

    Posted by: Tom | Aug 26, 2012 9:10:19 AM


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