Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong's Personal Impact

This afternoon I learned of the passing of Neil Armstrong. His last NASA mission was his finest - that of being the first to land and walk on the moon way back in July 1969. I like many millions of earth bound viewers watched the late evening EVA that took Armstrong and crewmate Buzz Aldrin onto the moon's surface. While the two astronauts bounced and strolled on the lunar surface the black and white television images beamed a new chapter of human achievement. This was a proud moment for the USA and the world.

Last night while arriving home after dinner and watching a concert in the park we pulled into the driveway in the dark. I had told our friends earlier that if the concert went longer we could see the International Space Station pass overhead. Not much interest was expressed. Then it appeared as if on command. The orbiting station some 230 miles above the earth traveled silently and as bright as magnitude 0.3 from west to east southeast before dimming to dark as it passed into earth's shadow.

The passion for space stuff still stirs my imagination. While I recall watching Gemini missions it was the Apollo moon missions that captured my attention. Neil Armstrong was a huge part of that imagination. He lived the dream.