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Neil Armstrong 1930-2012

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  • Neil Armstrong 1930-2012

    The first human being to set foot on another body has just passed. He was 82.

    I was fourteen at the time of the moon landing. My father, my ten-year old brother and I stayed up until the early hours to watch it, as did half of Britain, I'm sure. Not so my mother, who went to bed. I've always been puzzled by that. Why wouldn't you want to watch such a huge event in human history as it happened?

    - RobH.

  • #2
    RIP. We need to go back and put a statue of Neil on the moon. Because we can.


    • #3
      I was 5 and have very vague memories of watching it. Also have some news clippings somewhere from the time. Sad news.

      Why did we give up on the moon anyway?
      'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

      Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)


      • #4
        One small step...

        One of my earliest memories is of watching the grainy black and white images of the real first men on the moon and hearing that famous sentence spoken for the very first time on television.A wonderful moment carved in marble in my somewhat dodgy memory.

        R.I.P Neil Armstrong.
        Mwana wa simba ni simba

        The child of a lion is also a lion - Swahili Wisdom


        • #5
          Dear all,

          I was seven.

          While there may well have been many things over the last forty or so years that have advanced and advantaged the world and its peoples more, the moon landings (for me) remain mankind's greatest technical achievement.

          The fact that we've squandered that achievement and spent the money elsewhere (see pointless wars, etc.) is a crying shame almost beyond words.

          The motives for wanting to be first to the moon might have been morally dubious and politically driven, but that does nothing to detract from the dreams, ambitions & successes (and even failures) of the men (like Armstrong) and women who strove towards those ends.

          Lastly, despite my great admiration for Barack Obama, he seems to have very little legitimacy being the one (as a headline read today) to lead the tributes. Not when he's the president most responsible for strangling the life out of what few goals NASA still wished to pursue.

          Neil Armstrong is one of my life's very few heroes. Always has been. Always will be.


          P.S. I was going (in the above) to call Armstrong the John Deacon of astronautics, but thought it was too obscure a reference. I include it here as an aside for those to whom it'll mean anything.


          • #6
            I was only one year old, so I don't have memory of the event. But some years ago I read a book by Norman Spinrad, that told the story of a man whose father and uncle woke him up in the middle of the night with tons of icecream and chocolate syrup, to watch the landing and keep the memory of it along with that child's dream of unlimited joy, so that he would never forget.
            I would love to have such a memory.
            Godspeed Commander Armstrong.


            • #7
              Apparently we watched it with a crowd of people on a camp site in Brittany. I can't remember it though I have an image in my head but I think that stems from being told I watched it.

              The courage of the men who went on those missions still amazes me, they basically sat on a controlled explosion and were blasted into space. They landed with hardly any fuel spare. When they came back they fell from space and landed in the sea. Quite amazing.


              • #8
                The photo from LIFE magazine of Armstrong's bootprint in moondust is burned into my psyche.

                Actually...bootprint in moondust...that's not a bad title. Free of charge!



                • #9
                  I love this place - I'm not the oldest person here! I wasn't even a sparkle in the milkman's eye when Neil Armstrong did his thang! I really admire those early astronauts/cosmonauts tho... I think it is easy to forget exactly how dangerous it really was. In fact, it still is... Armstrong always conducted himself with superb dignity and grace. Total respect.

                  1. a meeting or assembly for the open discussion of subjects of public interest
                  2. a medium for open discussion, such as a magazine
                  3. a public meeting place for open discussion


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The English Assassin View Post
                    I love this place - I'm not the oldest person here! I wasn't even a sparkle in the milkman's eye when Neil Armstrong did his thang! I really admire those early astronauts/cosmonauts tho... I think it is easy to forget exactly how dangerous it really was. In fact, it still is... Armstrong always conducted himself with superb dignity and grace. Total respect.
                    Yeah I have the same feelings, I am 39 and unlike most metal forums I am part of, this is a place where people are as old as I am.

                    Anyway, I have the greatest respect and admiration for the spatial exploration. Those who were part of it have always had my admiration. Armstrong is a hero whose history will be told for many years ahead. RIP.
                    Last edited by zlogdan; 08-27-2012, 02:30 AM.
                    "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
                    "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.


                    • #11
                      I was 7, and was obsessed by space throughout my childhood. I still am to an extent.

                      Actually, no, I wasn't obsessed. It was just always there. It was all-pervasive, like the air that you breathed. Bond, Beatles and Space Travel, in equal measure. The world that was portrayed in Thunderbirds, and Captain Scarlet, and films like 'You Only Live Twice' and '2001', was quite clearly coming into existence around me as I grew up watching them. Every year there would be a couple of space missions, starting with the launch, covered by Patrick Moore and James Burke on the TV.

                      The astronauts were my heroes, then and now. And Armstrong especially so, due to the way that he lived his life after his moon mission. He went home, found a useful job which enabled him to contribute to his community, and quietly got on with it, clearly having no wish to be turned into what nowadays passes for a celebrity.

                      As I've got older, I have also come to admire the technicians, designers, engineers, and the managers who steered NASA to one of the pinnacles of human achievement.

                      As an adult I have learned a lot more about the unprecedented technical obstacles that they had to overcome, and also about just how dysfunctional, wasteful and overstaffed most ordinary organisations are, and am increasingly astonished that they were even able to get into earth orbit, let alone land on the moon and come back safely.

                      What it has given me, is the knowledge that we can do anything if we really want to.

                      We can tackle climate change, we can feed the world, we can give everyone as much healthcare as we want, we can a society which isn't addicted to oil - the only obstacle is human nature, that is to say, us.

                      Of course, there isn't any money to do any of those things at the moment. Well, there is, but the people who own the money don't want to use it for those things. They want to use it for ... other ... stuff.

                      And I think I read somewhere that the USA spent more on bailing out their banks than the combined total of what they spent on every war that they have ever fought, (including WW2 and the ones currently ongoing) PLUS the cost of their entire space program from Mercury up to the present day. So to be fair to Obama, money is a bit tight at the moment.

                      At the height of the space program, in the mid-sixties, America was spending about 5.5% of it's entire GDP on it, but that was when it had a healthy economy, and a strong manufacturing base. Now it is the most indebted country in the world, with (like pretty much everyone else) a dangerously flawed financial system, and a lot less manufacturing capability than it used to have.

                      But if they can get all that fixed (which is probably as difficult a job, in it's own way, as landing on the moon), I think it would be a great idea to spend money on a flourishing space program, because all that money actually gets spent down here on earth, and it is less wasteful than spending it on wars or bank bailouts. I'm pretty certain that if they hadn't spent that money on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, it would have been spent on the Vietnam War, which could hardly be described as good value for money.

                      I've come to realise that this is why I've become a grumpy old man. After being given a glimpse of what mankind is capable of, it's bloody depressing to spend the rest of your life watching us not fulfil our potential.

                      Still, there is amusement to be found in reading the writings of the conspiracy theorists. Especially the ones who think that we might be able to get to the moon now, but that there is no way that we could have landed there in 1969, which I find moderately funny because it's actually the other way round.


                      • #12

                        Neil Armstrong and Futures Past

                        I was two months old when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and 43 when he died, and inbetween those two events the future changed. When Armstrong landed, a human future in space seemed inevitable — we’d landed on the moon, after all. How long could it possibly be until we had moon colonies, space stations where thousands lived, stuck by centrifugal force to walls which were their floors, and a second space race to Mars? Why, not long as all, it seemed, and so I lived the first decade of my life breathlessly waiting for the moon colony and all the rest of it. And also drinking Tang because, hey, I wasn’t quite ten, and Tang was pretty awesome when you’re that age.


                        • #13
                          Dear all,

                          Everyone seems obsessed with how old they were when Armstrong first walked on the moon -- one of those 'where were you moments -- so I wonder if the fact that KevJo & I were both 7 has anything to do with our expressing not dissimilar views about the space race and its legacy...?

                          Also, as a small, date-related aside, d'you realise that the gap between the Wright brothers' first flight and the moon landing was just 66 years!




                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JohnDavey View Post
                            Also, as a small, date-related aside, d'you realise that the gap between the Wright brothers' first flight and the moon landing was just 66 years!
                            I used to talk to my Grandad about that - the fact that within his lifetime, he had seen man go from the Wright Brothers first flight, to landing on the moon.

                            Mind you, he had also lived through World War 1 and fought in World War 2, so I guess you could say that that generation had quite eventful lives. Swings and roundabouts.

                            On the subject of the Apollo moonshots, I really enjoyed the DVDs of the TV miniseries 'From the Earth to the Moon', which uses an ensemble cast to tell the story of each of the moonshots, and also manages to devote episodes to the team that designed the lunar module (one of my favourite episodes), the effect of the Apollo program on the astronaut's wives, and the bureaucratic problems of running an organisation like NASA back in the sixties.

                            Also, the film 'The Dish', which actually manages to convey the times even better, because it is set in a normal town in Australia, which just happens to house the largest radio telescope in the southern hemisphere, which was responsible for relaying the pictures of Armstrong's 'small step'. It is a gentle comedy, a bit like 'Local Hero', but based on true events.

                            It captures the sense of wonder pretty well, and there is a character in it, a little lad who is about 9 or 10, who clearly knows far more about the space program than either of his parents, and who is glued to the TV whenever anything to do with it is on.

                            Needless to say, he is, essentially, a fictionalised version of me in 1969, which is probably why I like the film so much. Good soundtrack too.


                            • #15
                              Dear all,

                              I, too, would highly recommend 'The Dish', a little-known minor classic!