Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012: One Giant Loss for Mankind


62 Responses to “Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012: One Giant Loss for Mankind”

  1. We throw the phrase “Real American Hero” around a lot.

    THIS, ladies and gentleman, was the real deal.

    God Speed.

  2. Randall Brown says:

    Damn. A sad day. I was 15 and watching that fuzzy black and white image when he stepped on the Moon. RIP.

  3. SteveKiwi says:

    Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when man has walked on the moon…

  4. RIP – the courage and ingenuity and adventure of the first moon landing inspires our dreams to this day, and will do into the future.

  5. BDiamond says:

     So sad. He was one of my childhood heroes, of which there were very few.

    • Alexander Burke says:

       That’s a little creepy. It looks like the first death should have been this year.

      • Bodhipaksa says:

        The table shows the first death having taken place in 1991, as it did when Irwin died of a heart attack.

      • Bodhipaksa says:

        Just realized you probably meant “the first projected death” should have been this year. Yeah, that is creepy. And we can expect another five deaths by 2020.

  6. bzishi says:

    I’m too young to have seen him step on the Moon, but I think he was perhaps the perfect person for the historical task. He was an aerospace-engineer who worked as a test pilot on the X-15. As an astronaut he resigned his Naval officer’s commission to work as a civilian (the 2nd in the world and the 1st American). He was obviously calm under pressure as the Gemini-5 8 mission incident proved. And to me it seemed that he had no ego nor a political axe to grind. It makes me happy to know that the first human to step foot on another celestial body was a civilian and didn’t use the opportunity to gain money or power over other people. He didn’t try to symbolically conquer the Moon, he only tried to visit it and study it. And it appeared to me that he did so out of the opportunity and duty, not out of greed.

    A great man has passed.

    Correction: Gemini-8

  7. TheMadLibrarian says:

    Godspeed, Neil Armstrong.

  8. CH says:

    What a shock to see the header! I was born a few months after the moon landing, so the image of him stepping down the ladder has been an iconic image my whole life.

    He may be gone, but he will live on forever.

  9. Mike Richards says:

    We’re saying goodbye to Neil Armstrong, but if it’s any consolation to those who were lucky enough to know him, his name is surely immortal.

  10. Mitchell Glaser says:

    It must have been sad for him to see the U.S. without a manned space vehicle of any kind while spending trillions of dollars on senseless wars and filling the greedy coffers of the already rich.

  11. GabyYYZ says:

    Someone needs to crowd-source a rocket to send his ashes to the moon. That would be a f*#king heroic tribute. Doesn’t have to be fancy.

  12. Gerald Mander says:

    This makes me so sad. Not only because I remember the moonwalk and the collective global astonishment it produced as a vivid childhood highlight, but because it was inconceivable at the time that Armstrong would not have lived to see humanity travel anywhere else off the planet.

    I hope we come up with some great way to honor him.

  13. Mandy Scott says:

    “I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer”

  14. AviSolomon says:

    RIP Neil:( What an amazing yet humble man, we’re lucky he got to be the first to represent humanity on the moon:

  15. toyg says:

    It seems somewhat fitting that we lost him only after the Curiosity landing. It’s like his soul just wanted to make sure we were again on the right course, after the disappointing loss of the Shuttle.

  16. robcat2075 says:

    That photo on the cover of Nat Geo is actually of Aldrin, although you can see a bit of Armstrong reflected in Aldrin’s visor. 

    Armstrong carried the camera so almost all Apollo 11 photos on the lunar surface are really of Aldrin.

    I got to briefly meet Armstrong and shake his hand in 1972 because of my geologist cousin’s (Roald Fryxell) NASA activities and took this picture of the two of them:

    • Armstrong carried the camera

      Yeah if Armstrong had a fault it was his reluctance to delegate. Another example was the 1202 error during descent. This should have been handled by Aldrin and mission control, but Armstrong allowed it to distract him, and flew the LM into dangerous terrain at low altitude as a result.

      • robcat2075 says:

         No, the camera was his assigned role.  They thoroughly rehearsed every elaborate timeline detail of that flight.  Who would carry the camera was not something decided when they got there.

        Nor did he carelessly fly it into “dangerous terrain”.  Your 1202 story is an absurd concoction. The 1202 error was noted and managed by Aldrin during the descent.

        Armstrong took control of the flight of the LM from the automatic system to fly it OUT of danger.

        • Tom Dougherty says:

          Robcat is correct.  The computer alarms were executive overflow; the computer was being asked to do too many tasks at once.  It was up to Aldrin to respond to that problem, and he and a young Steve Bales on the ground did just that.  The Landing Point Designator indicated that Eagle was going to fly into a crater.  Armstrong took over to fly it past the crater manually.

  17. morgane says:


    from the lp 2012 “Europe” from Allo Darlin’, a song called “Neil Armstrong”

    sniff sniff. I’m acually crying. sniff.

  18. Of all the ‘Firsts’ for Man, what he did..  huge…    thank you.

  19. Daneel says:

    Per ardua ad astra.


    I recently got around to reading The Right Stuff. Truly, he had it. Astronauts are awesome.

  20. skyhawk1 says:

    Sad indeed. Condolences to the Armstrong family. R.I.P. Neil, and thank you for your outstanding service.

  21. msbpodcast says:

    I have tears in my eyes as I write this. 

    I hope they name the next rover after him and as sad as it might be to say, I hope they bury some his ashes on a cenotaph on the moon, next to where the Eagle had landed…

    (Anyone want to run this as a Kickstarter project?)

  22. djcarlito says:

    thank you for this beautiful tribute to a truly incredible man.. he will be remembered for his bravery for many many generations to come..  

  23. Lodewijk Gonggrijp says:

    A thousand years from now children will still learn about Gagarin and Armstrong and all the asshattery and other hubris of these two centuries will have faded from memory.
    Godspeed mr. Armstrong, a genuine hero to all mankind.

  24. eccentricintelligenceagency says:

    A little tribute: – if worthy, feel free to take, or rearrange however desired without attribution. The main image was taken from wikipedia, and the rest GIMPed. 

  25. I was 3 yrs old in Haarlem, Holland, when my dad put me in front of a black-and-white tv set and made me watch this man be the hope of mankind. I am at a loss, but intensely grateful. Thank you, Mr. Armstrong.

  26. wortfeld says:

    Amazingly, one of the few long Neil Armstrong interviews where he talks about Apollo 11 can be found on the website of the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants: 

  27. Anahata says:

    RIP, Neil.

    Xeni, as long as we’re acknowledging Buzz Aldrin, let’s also tip our hats to the third man, Michael Collins, who gamely kept the motor warm while the other two got to play around on the Moon.

  28. korthmat says:

    I’m currently watching “Moon Shot” with the kids… so that they understand exactly why, as someone said earlier, Neil Armstrong *was* a “Real American Hero”.

    RIP, Neil.  What you did was one of the few things that happened before my birth that makes me wish I’d been born earlier.

  29. MrScience says:

    Wow, my birthday was going so well (except for the bit of having to work on a Saturday, but then I love my job)… What sad, sad news to hear. :(

  30. mike shupp says:

    And now, friends, let’s have another big tax cut.   And chop another ten per cent or so off the NASA budget.  And decide we can’t afford to send humans beyond low earth orbit for another decade or so.  Or maybe ever.

    And then we can bury Neil Armstrong and swear we’ll remember him forever.

  31. BonzoDog1 says:

    I was pumping gas that day, alone, in my first “real” job. Missed the touchdown and finally convinced the owner of the station on the phone to shut down and I rushed home.
    There was no one on the roads. Absolutely zero traffic.
    Got there just in time for his first footstep.
    I’d say it a sign of our time that the day a great human was leaving this earth (again) Snooki was giving birth.

  32. Mister44 says:

    Like others said – a true hero who inspired generations of people. He will be missed.. Godspeed.

    In order to lighten the mood here is one of my favorite urban legends/jokes about Armstrong:

    At one point during his famous walk on the moon, Neil casually said, “Good luck, Mr Kilwoski.” It was an off the cuff moment and no one knew at the time who he was talking about. Some thought it was a rival Cosmonaut or Russian scientist. When asked who Mr. Kilwoski was, he only replied, “A friend.” and left it at that.

    It wasn’t until much later that he was asked again who Mr. Kilwoski was. Neil said that since he was probably dead now, he may as well share the story. When he was younger the Kilwoskis were he neighbors. One day he hit a ball into their yard and went to retrieve it. He ended up under their bed room window where he could hear them arguing. Mrs. Kilwoski was yelling, “Oral sex? You want oral sex? I’ll give you oral sex when the neighbor boy walks on the moon!”

  33. Neil Fox says:

    Here is an online memorial to Neil Armstrong – please feel free to light a virtual candle or send
    virtual flowers –

  34. vonbobo says:

    Air and Space museums are my favorite places in the world. My mind is boggled when standing next to the rockets and capsules. I stare into those tiny capsules and think about every phase of the mission, how daring it all is, and I can’t believe a braver man exists. Calling these guys my childhood heros would be an understatement.

    Think I will watch The Right Stuff tonight!

  35. benher says:

    Thanks for all the inspiration. Humanity requires it.
    Look forward to the near-zero-gravity ribbon-cutting ceremony for the future moon-based Armstrong memorial.

  36. niktemadur says:

    In related news, the global index of intestinal fortitude dropped a notch or two today. He had nerves of steel, that one.

  37. Tribune says:

    He will be missed and his impact on us will continue.

  38. ocker3 says:

    It somehow feels inappropriate to repost that video of the moon landing with the profanity-filled narration, but I’m going to go watch it myself. 

  39. rasterops says:

    What a list of achievements! Flying over 200 different models of aircraft, including jets, rockets, helicopters and gliders is unreal let alone the rest.

  40. Cthulhu0818 says:

    Godspeed Mr. Armstrong.  You represented what was best in us all.

    I cannot help but think that perhaps Neil spent his later years disappointed in us as a people and a culture.  He and his pals achieved SO very much ,with so very little, by todays standards, and today we couldn’t return to the Moon if we wanted to.  (We literally cannot.  The Saturn V lifters are obsolete and cannot be re created with modern tech, believe it or not.)

    We had so many opportunities,  So much potential. We led the world in science, engineering and math,  and now we have….nothing.

    Goodby Neil,  we’re sorry we let you down.

  41. I honestly thought this man, and all the other astronauts who made history that decade, were immortal. I was in massive disbelief when I heard the news. But the fact is that our memories and their incredible feats did make them immortal. None of us will forget, ever. In a thousand years they will still be legends, and no one will have to add any flourishes to their story. RIP, Neil. 

  42. Hope he will never be stripped of his title.

  43. thequickbrownfox says:

    We were sent home from school  so we could watch the moon landing on TV.

    TV suddenly became “video”.

  44. Greg Van Antwerp says:

    We could use more people like Neil. He was a hero to us growing up in America and would be a welcome sight today.  I hope he has again reached his “Tranquility Base.”

    I will share this post about my Apollo 11 discovery – take a look. 

  45. timbray says:

    RIP Neil Armstrong
    The events you experience as a child continue to resonate throughout your life. Here’s a picture I drew at Tamaki Primary School, Panmure, Auckland, New Zealand aged 5, on 21 July 1969.

    I wrote “Today a spaceman landed on the moon.” My Mum saved it, and gave it to me, framed, for my 30th birthday. Bless her.

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