The first man you ever set foot on the moon, Neil Alden Armstrong, passed away on Saturday at the age of 82. Neil had a pretty amazing career before becoming an astronaut. He served as a U.S. Naval pilot in the Korean war, and then as a test pilot before joining the space program in 1962. He performed the first docking of two spacecraft during his first space flight aboard Gemini 8 in 1966 and then became the first human being to walk on the moon on his second and last mission on Apollo 11 in 1969.
When you think about the modern “daredevil” or stuntman and all the wild and dangerous things they do, nothing comes close to what the original astronauts of the early space program dared to do. Imagine strapping yourself into a small capsule, whose outside walls are as thin as a coin, and then lighting the fuse that will ignite the huge gas tank your capsule is sitting on and hoping for the best. Sure it was a bit more technical than that but consider that the average modern day calculator packs more computing punch than the first moon landing mission and you understand the scope of how amazing the accomplishment was.
There was a time when children looked up to brave men like Neal and vowed to follow in their footsteps and carry the torch of progress forward. Build on their accomplishments and push mankind to even greater technological feats. Some kids still do but sadly modern day heroes in our time take the form of sports stars, autotuned recording artists and reality TV wannabe stars.
Check out the original version of Space Oddity by David Bowie from 1969, the year of the first moon landing.