|Neil Armstrong August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012|
Neil Armstrong died today, August 25, 2012 and we are the lesser for it. He was a true American icon and hero if ever there was one. Best know for being the first man to walk on the moon and uttering these immortal words:
Although the official NASA flight plan called for a crew rest period before extra-vehicular activity, Armstrong requested that the EVA be moved to earlier in the evening, Houston time. Once Armstrong and Aldrin were ready to go outside, Eagle was depressurized, the hatch was opened and Armstrong made his way down the ladder first.
At the bottom of the ladder, Armstrong said "I'm going to step off the LEM now" (referring to the Apollo Lunar Module). He then turned and set his left boot on the surface at 2:56 UTC July 21, 1969, then spoke the famous words "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."
|In Space Suits|
Armstrong had decided on this statement following a train of thought that he had had after launch and during the hours after landing. The broadcast did not have the "a" before "man", rendering the phrase a contradiction (as man in such use is synonymous with mankind). NASA and Armstrong insisted for years that static had obscured the "a", with Armstrong stating he would never make such a mistake, but after repeated listenings to recordings, Armstrong admitted he must have dropped the "a". Armstrong later said he "would hope that history would grant me leeway for dropping the syllable and understand that it was certainly intended, even if it was not said – although it might actually have been".
Going to space in our time has become almost mundane, something celebrities and billionaires can now do for the right price. Neil Armstrong went to the moon at a time when there little to no guarantee that he would ever return. He and the other Apollo 11 astronauts risked their lives in the name of science and national honor and expected little in return. Armstrong died Saturday following complications resulting from heart surgery, a according to family members.