RIP Neil Armstrong
Well, this is sad: Neil Armstrong is dead. I have no idea what it would be like to be the first to step onto the moon, but he was one of the bravest people I’ve ever heard of. He and the rest of the astronauts in the Apollo programme knew perfectly well that what they were doing was risky, but they went to the Moon because they thought the risk was worth it. I think it was: they proved that it is possible to get to the Moon, which is pretty much the first step towards further manned voyages anywhere in our local solar system, let alone the rest of the Universe.
The really sad thing, of course, is that the conspiracy theorists are coming out of the woodwork. Of course, the big one is that the landing was faked – here’s a site that debunks that entirely. One of the dumbest I came across, via Ophelia Benson, is that he converted to Islam after landing – a complete urban legend, according to the man himself; he labelled himself as a Deist. Don’t look at the comments on the BBC article or the one from About.com, unless you want to end up destroying your computer keyboard and simultaneously give yourself a headache.
Michael Collins, the pilot of the Apollo 11 command module has a short but sweet obituary for him, posted here on NASA’s obituary page:
“He was the best, and I will miss him terribly.”
I’ll drink to that tonight.