Neil Armstrong RIP

August 26th, 2012 at 9:30 am by David Farrar

has died aged 82. His name and his achievement as the first man on the moon must be one of the most well known on the planet. His quote of “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” will remain with us for generations.

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29 Responses to “Neil Armstrong RIP”

  1. KH (687 comments) says:

    At school we knocked off the chemistry classs to listen live to that stuff gathered around the radio. No TV coverage avaiable. I have lived my life surrounded with this story, although it was always in the background. But I knew as a species where we were going to. Star Trek and the 2001 movie were more or less doco’s – or more like some Powerpoint as to what the plan was.
    Live TV of the other moon walks only came when I was in a student flat.
    Now towards the other end of my life, we have stepped back, but only for a bit.
    Ride on Neil Armstrong. You went where no man went before and you will always be with us.

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  2. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    RIP

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  3. Scott Chris (5,870 comments) says:

    His quote of “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” will remain with us for generations.

    Yeah, ’cause he fluffed his line. Should have said “…one small step for a man” for it to actually make sense. (in other words, within the context of his statement, man and mankind are synonymous)

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  4. tom hunter (4,369 comments) says:

    It is a strange example of how the mind works that I cannot remember anything about the first lunar landing, but can remember the Apollo 8 voyage around the moon from seven months earlier. The latter occurred at Christmas, adding to the magic that all little kids feel at that time, so that’s probably why those memories endure.

    For me, going to the moon will always be the final mission, Apollo 17. It had the best TV quality and by then NZ had a satellite dish, allowing us to see the walks on the moon live. I will always treasure the memory of sitting with Dad in our farmhouse lounge at 3am or so, watching the astronauts on our old B&W TV.

    It was not until years later that I began to truly appreciate what Armstrong did on that first landing or what he had done previously. For once I will probably tune in to One News or Three at 6pm tonight but am already dreading the coverage and yet although I have little time for the MSM nowadays, I can’t help thinking that it was not much better forty years ago.

    Armstrong’s incredible skill and cool courage in saving the Gemini 8 mission received little in-depth reporting for decades, and the incident with the “Flying Bedstead” was not much better. Even though I read everything I could get my hands on about the Apollo missions it was not until I read Andrew Chaikin’s fantastic book, A Man On The Moon, that I truly realised what Armstrong had done. And all of this before that last-gasp landing on Apollo 11: twenty seconds of fuel remaining (and that an estimate). Tom Wolfe captured it best when he wrote:

    This quality, this it, was never named, however, nor was it talked about in any way.

    As to just what this ineffable quality was…well, it obviously involved bravery. But it was not bravery in the simple sense of being willing to risk your life. The idea seemed to be that any fool could do that, if that was all that was required, just as any fool could throw away his life in the process.

    No, the idea here (in the all enclosing fraternity) seemed to be that a man should have the ability to go up in a hurtling piece of machinery and put his hide on the line and then have the moxie, the reflexes, the experience, the coolness, to pull it back in the last yawning moment-and then to go up again the next day, and the next day, and every next day, even if the series should be infinite – and, ultimately, in its best expression, do so in a cause that means something to thousands, to a people, to a nation, to humanity, to God.

    That was Neil Armstrong.

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  5. RRM (9,427 comments) says:

    Legend.

    I vividly remember as a small boy in the early 80s, first learning about the moon landings (which were an event of recent history then) and thinking it was just the most awesome thing ever.

    Now that it’s all something that was done over 40 years ago, I’m can’t help feeling it’s STILL the most awesome thing the humans have ever done…

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  6. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Yeah, ’cause he fluffed his line. Should have said “…one small step for a man” for it to actually make sense. (in other words, within the context of his statement, man and mankind are synonymous)

    Well that really undermined the achievement didn’t it Scott Chris?

    /sarc

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  7. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    An interesting back story to the TV coverage of the day.

    http://www.honeysucklecreek.net/Apollo_11/New_Zealand_TV.html

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  8. tvb (4,196 comments) says:

    The famous words were scripted but nevertheless crown a historic moment.

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  9. flipper (3,537 comments) says:

    Watched his “one small step for (a) man” line semi-live on NZTV.

    Then in 1970, along with 11 others from various Pacific-rim nations, had the great fortune to spend an hour listening to and socialising with him at the Houston Space Centre.

    No matter what may have beeen said or may be said in any atempt to denigrate his first steps, he was a great human being who, according to him, achieved with the help of others, more than his life’s ambition.

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  10. tom hunter (4,369 comments) says:

    Oh dear ….

    Astronaut Neil Young, first man to walk on moon, dies at age 82

    And apparently his first words on the lunar surface were, Let’s Roll !

    That’s not from some blogger but American network, NBC. It’s been corrected since then, but as the blog link snarks, perhaps they should hire some guys in pajamas to write their stuff.

    I don’t think I should watch the NZ TV news tonight.

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  11. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    The Lunar surface journal notes that Armstrongs first words weren’t actually holy living fuck we’re on the fucking moon.

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  12. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    From the Armstrong family statement:

    “For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

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  13. tom hunter (4,369 comments) says:

    And of course Armstrong was also connected with one of the great urban stories of the early internet age, captured well by Mr Snopes Good Luck, Mr Gorsky!:

    When Apollo Mission Astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind” statement, but followed it by several remarks, including the usual COM traffic between him, the other astronauts, and Mission Control. Before he re-entered the lander, he made the enigmatic remark “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.”

    Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet Cosmonaut. However, upon checking, [they found] there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs.

    Over the years, many people have questioned him as to what the “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky” statement meant. On July 5, in Tampa Bay, FL, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26- year-old question to Armstrong. He finally responded. It seems that Mr. Gorsky had died and so Armstrong felt he could answer the question.

    When he was a kid, Neil was playing baseball with his brother in the backyard. His brother hit a fly ball which landed in front of his neighbors’ bedroom window. The neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky. As he leaned down to pick up the ball, he heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky, “Oral sex? Oral sex you want? You’ll get oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!”

    Apparently Armstrong himself thought it was a great story.

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  14. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    “and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

    That is awesome from the Armstrong family!

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  15. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Here’s an interview with Armstrong. BBC, 1970.

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  16. gump (1,474 comments) says:

    Damn – what tough week.

    First he loses all of his Tour de France titles and then he dies.

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  17. DJP6-25 (1,268 comments) says:

    RIP Neil Armstrong.

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  18. David Garrett (6,331 comments) says:

    He was the epitome of the best of Americans: incredibly brave, quiet, modest and self effacing. We shall not see his like again.

    I agree with an earlier commenter that the Apollo programme remains the most impressive feat of mankind.

    Well done that man, and all those who helped make his feat possible.

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  19. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Buzz Aldrin:

    I am deeply saddened by the passing of my good friend, and space exploration companion, Neil Armstrong today. As Neil, Mike Collins and I trained together for our historic Apollo 11 Mission, we understood the many technical challenges we faced, as well as the importance and profound implications of this historic journey. We will now always be connected as the crew of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, yet for the many millions who witnessed that remarkable achievement for humankind, we were not alone.
    Whenever I look at the moon I am reminded of that precious moment, over four decades ago, when Neil and I stood on the desolate, barren, yet beautiful, Sea of Tranquility, looking back at our brilliant blue planet Earth suspended in the darkness of space, I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by many millions of others from around the world in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a historic moment in human history.
    I had truly hoped that on July 20th, 2019, Neil, Mike and I would be standing together to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing, as we also anticipated the continued expansion of humanity into space, that our small mission helped make possible. Regrettably, this is not to be. Neil will most certainly be there with us in spirit.
    On behalf of the Aldrin family, we extend our deepest condolences to Carol and the entire Armstrong family. I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer.
    May he Rest in Peace, and may his vision for our human destiny in space be his legacy.

    BUZZ ALDRIN

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  20. tom hunter (4,369 comments) says:

    And let’s not forget that the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal was ….

    … inspired by the work of New Zealand historian J.C. Beaglehole, the 20th Century’s foremost authority on the European exploration of the Pacific and, particularly, on the voyages of Captain James Cook.

    Yay us!

    Okay, okay – so it’s not The Dish – but then even that wasn’t!

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  21. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    More than any other living being, this man’s name will remain immortal for all time. The first human being to step foot on another planet. An extraordinary accomplishment and extraordinary bravery, of a time since passed. I’ll never forget that afternoon of July 22, 1969 (NZ time), gathered around the Reuters teleprinter, chattering out the news on that day and thinking what an amazing time to be alive in this world. RIP Neil Armstrong

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  22. Johnboy (14,910 comments) says:

    If anyone had the right stuff it was him!

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  23. David Garrett (6,331 comments) says:

    Well said Johnboy… If it had taken 20 seconds longer before he got the Lunar Module down they would both still be there.

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  24. Johnboy (14,910 comments) says:

    Indeed David. This one has got me fascinated though.

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html

    Its almost surreal, hard to believe it is really happening.

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

    Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
    And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    — John Gillespie Magee, Jr

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  25. David Garrett (6,331 comments) says:

    I am pleasantly surprised we haven’t some dickhead(s) on this thread saying “it never happened; it was all done in the desert in Arizona”.

    I saw this fantastic movie length doco a couple of years ago about the Apollo program…at the end, each of the astronauts who walked on the moon – except Armstrong – gave their replies to the question “What do you say to the people who say it was faked?”

    The best response was from a laconic Texan called Charlie Duke (imagine a Texan accent):

    “Well, I say this…we went to the moon NINE times…why the hell did we fake it NINE times?”

    Game set and match I think…Faking it once and keeping it a secret would be nigh on impossible, but nine times?

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  26. RRM (9,427 comments) says:

    David Garrett (2,503) Says:
    August 26th, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Well said Johnboy… If it had taken 20 seconds longer before he got the Lunar Module down they would both still be there.

    As I understand it… if they had run that fuel tank dry there was an ABORT button they would have hit, which would have dropped the descent stage and fired up the ascent stage engine, to take them back up into lunar orbit.. and then they had to hope like hell that the orbit they went back into was one that the command module was capable of rendezvousing with to pick them up again.

    Big boys’ stuff either way.

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  27. tom hunter (4,369 comments) says:

    Well that was the theory RRM, but I think when they were that close to the surface there was not enough time – with the whole thing still dropping – for them to blow the descent stage free and climb. I think that was the reason that in Mission Control – after the 30 second call on the fuel was made – that the Flight Director, Gene Kranz, simply said, I think we better just be quiet now.

    What the hell, the kids and their homework are finally tucked away and the dishes washed – so I’m going to celebrate Neil and the gang by watching Mare Tranquiltatis, the episode about Apollo 11 in the series From The Earth To The Moon. Seems an appropriate way to end the day that began with news of his passing.

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  28. David Garrett (6,331 comments) says:

    Tom: I believe that was the title of the movie length doco I am referring to…bloody incredible stuff…

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  29. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    Staggering stuff – 7 years after JFK makes the vision statement – Man lands on the moon.
    I’d venture .. Mankind’s greatest achievement.

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