Neil Armstrong Passes Away At 82
News today is that American space exploration legend Neil Armstrong passed away after complications from a surgery to relieve clogged coronary arteries. He was 82 years old.
For most in my generation, Armstrong was always little more than a name in a textbook. We hadn’t grown up following news of the Gemini or Apollo missions in the news. Armstrong’s “one small step for man” moment was just an allusion for us, not something we witnessed live on television. By the time I was born, Armstrong’s moonwalk was already more than two decades behind us, and Armstrong was well into retirement from the space program.
Because of that, I’m not sure many in my generation appreciate just how daring those missions were, and just how close to failure they got. The ingenuity and inventiveness on display, not just in the crafting of the technologies and techniques that got them into space but in the way they adapted and invented on the fly to stay alive and complete the missions successfully, was nothing short of a marvel.
During the Apollo 11 mission, upon returning to the Lunar Module, Buzz Aldrin and Armstrong broke the ignition switch they needed to push to start the lift off from the lunar surface. They fixed the switch with a pen, which Aldrin still possess.
Armstrong’s age of space exploration is replete with those sort of stories, which illustrate just how much they shared with all the explorers who came before them.
Today we take space for granted. When we bounce inane text messages to one another off satellites in outer space and think nothing of it. But once upon a time, space was a wild frontier, and cowboys like Armstrong tamed it.
They were heroes whose bold actions continue to resonate today, even if we don’t always appreciate it.Tags: neil armstrong