Neil Armstrong, the first man to land on the Moon as commander of the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969, died today aged 82 — and he did it with less computer power that is in most mobile phones today! He was a true hero. The very act of man reaching the moon was such a vital moment to the human race, as Phil Plait of Bad Astronomer put it “we can divide all of history into two parts: before humans landed on the Moon, and after. It was not just an important moment, it was the moment… The end of homo sapiens terrestrialis and the birth of homo sapiens cosmos.”
The statement from his family reads:
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.
Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.
Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.
He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.
As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.
While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.
The very eloquently worded front page of The Onion on July 21 1969:
The achievements of Neil Armstrong, and the crew of the Apollo 11 mission were far-reaching and inspire us all. As a race we extended ourselves beyond our own planet. He brought the moon to our living rooms and made a dream a reality. Despite this, he remained down-to-earth and shied away from media attention. To Neil Armstrong, Thank you.
Nobody born since 1935 has stepped on another world. Neil Armstrong’s death is a reminder that we have been screwing about for too long now – it’s time to go to Mars. It may not be rational, but we didn’t get where we are by being an entirely rational species – we did it by trying things, and failing pretty much most of the time. It’s time for someone to step up and show us all that we still have that drive, that when we have the guts to unleash that curiosity – and the guts to fail – we can still achieve greatness. Neil Armstrong’s death is wake-up call, a challenge to our generation. We can go to Mars, and it doesn’t need a miracle: we just need to decide to go.
We mourn the passing of a guy who landed on the moon while we still kill each other over whose sky fairy is best. Funny old world.
— Paul Chambers (@pauljchambers) August 25, 2012
Sad to hear about death of Neil Armstrong. I do think Apollo was the greatest of human achievements. For once, we reached beyond our grasp
— Brian Cox (@ProfBrianCox) August 25, 2012
Neil Armstrong was a hero not just of his time, but of all time. Thank you, Neil, for showing us the power of one small step. -bo
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 25, 2012
I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning Neil’s passing – a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew.
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) August 25, 2012