Vale Neil Armstrong

I don't know what it is about the passing of the first man on the moon that has hit me as hard as it has.

When I heard that Neil Armstrong had died, I felt... sad, but something more. It's hard to put into words but I think the best I can come up with is, grief.

I don't know the man personally, I was born eight years after he took his momentus steps of the Lunar Module and the space race of my early years was shuttle launches, Mir and Challanger. I never got to sit, glued to the TV, watching as he hopped off the bottom step of the LM ladder onto the dusty surface.

Yet I feel as if I personally have suffered a loss, as if a member of my extended family has died.

I think part of it is the fact that with the passing of Armstrong, we're really seeing the passing of the age of human exploration of space. In the years between Armstrongs first footsteps and today, we've been to the moon and then fallen back into orbit, content to let robots and very cool drones take the lead. 

If we truly want to honour Neil Armstrong, if we truly want to give him the send off he deserves, we, as a world, should commit to putting a woman on the moon by 2020, and putting a man and a woman on Mars by 2030. 

They did it in 9 years. Surely we can do it in 7 and a half.

Blog Catagories: 

Comments

Hi - I only just found this blog because of a search for 'Vale Neil Armstrong', and when I read your post about him I knew I felt EXACTLY the same way, so thank you for your post. I was born 6 months before Apollo 11 landed and when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s in the UK I loved all things NASA (and still do really). Neil Armstrong's death for me does indeed feel like I have personally suffered a loss too, as you've described. I read about it tonight and was deeply saddened. Even reading 'Status: Deceased' on Wikipedia made me shiver a bit. In this respect it seems fitting for me to add my little tribute to him on your site rather on any big newspaper site etc. Thank you Neil for everything. Stephen.

Well I feel honoured Stephen.

That night I went outside, looked up at the moon and raised a glass to Neil, and everyone else who had been involved in that most epic of journeys.