Goodbye Neil Armstrong
My daughter, who loves space, cried when I broke the news to her that Neil Armstrong had died. She has been reading a biography of him and holds him in high regard among the pantheon of stellar explorers (including a number of astronomers as well as astronauts).
Unlike most of our celebrities, the first man to set foot on another body in the cosmos shunned the spotlight. He described himself as a “white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer.” I suspect that he was one heck of a pilot too. Okay, I know that he had to be one heck of a pilot.
He had a respect for space exploration, an awareness that his achievement wasn’t about himself but about an entire team and the work of those who had gone before, and more importantly, about all of humanity. He never tried to overshadow the achievement or make it about himself.
However, I’ll never forget the “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
As I remember Neil Armstrong, I find myself wishing that we were spending more resources on space exploration. I think that’s what Neil would have wanted. To paraphrase him about his time on the moon, there was important work to do.
We still have work to do. Thanks, Neil.