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Aug 25 2012

The Moon curse finally got him

God never intended men to walk on the moon; if he had, we’d have had rockets in our butts. At last, He has his revenge on he who had the outrageous hubris to dare to leave the Earth: Neil Armstrong has died, 43 years after walking on the moon.

I do like this quote.

I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer.

Nerds rule the world…and others!

83 comments

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  1. 1
    Anthony K

    if he had, we’d have had rockets in our butts

    You don’t?

    I recommend more dietary fibre.

  2. 2
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    if he had, we’d have had rockets in our butts

    Try some of the Redhead’s chile.

  3. 3
    cicely

    I has a massive sad.
    :( :( :( :( :(
    -

  4. 4
    Lofty

    “A reluctant hero” according to our morning news broadcast.

  5. 5
    Zeno

    Armstrong retired from the space program and became a professor of engineering. What greater contrast could there be between his behavior and today’s cash-it-all-in society? I’ll never cease to admire his steady nerve, which made the Apollo moon landing a hair-raising success, and his modest reserve, which gave him a post-Apollo life of dignity and serenity.

  6. 6
    Dick the Damned

    Okay, if some god-thing hadn’t intended for us to try to get to the Moon, why would it dangle it there within easy reach, once we’d developed some appropriate technology?

    I mean, what kind of a fucking god would tempt us & then punish us for succumbing, eh? Oh yeahhhhh.

    I think i’ve just proven that, if there is a god, then it must be the Christers’ Bible Bogey.

  7. 7
    markabbott

    One giant loss for mankind.

  8. 8
    magistramarla

    We have lost three former astronauts in two months.
    First – Alan (Dex) Poindexter – a personal friend of mine and a man who also sought to “give back” to those coming up behind him. He was the Dean of Students at the Naval Postgraduate School.
    Second – Sally Ride – A role model for women and an educator, too.
    Now – Neil Armstrong
    This summer has brought three great losses for mankind.

  9. 9
    tuibguy

    Here’s a glass of beer to astronauts who have gone where most of us only dream of going, and the danger they risked to get there.

  10. 10
    madscientist

    He was a fascinating character, an exceptional man, extremely private, never did a half-ass job, and always charming in public (but if you knew him it was easy to push the right buttons and get him really mad). He had a great zero tolerance for bullshit, but perhaps unfortunately his disdain for politics (and publicity) might have kept him from speaking out more.

  11. 11
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Everyone knows the moon is just projected on the sky dome by NASA.

  12. 12
    anubisprime

    He has seen things you people would not believe.
    But one thing is for sure all those moments he did see will be lost in time…like tears in rain…And it was Neil’s Time to die.

    We are diminished as a species, but our minds we will rise as a phoenix cos now we know the way, Neil showed us!

  13. 13
    Rob in Memphis

    I was born less than a year before the first moon landing and when I heard Neil Armstrong had died, my second thought (after, “Oh, man”) was this. I am officially a terrible person. :-(

  14. 14
    Duckbilled Platypus

    So I went to look at the NASA statement about his passing, which was covered by their administrator Bolden:

    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/aug/HQ_12-601_Bolden_Statement.html

    “As we enter this next era of space exploration, we do so standing on the shoulders of Neil Armstrong. We mourn the passing of a friend, fellow astronaut and true American hero.”

    Something in there seems strikes me as out of place in an obituary from a scientific institute.

  15. 15
    'Tis Himself

    Sic transit gloria mundi.

  16. 16
    jnorris

    I am sure if we look into his death a bit closer we will discover he was going to go public and blow the whole fake Moon walk conspiracy. So They offed him.

    And yes I am sad he has died. He had a courage I could never find.

  17. 17
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    I has a sad.

    Not just for Neil Armstrong, but for the whole era of exploration and excitement with science. Almost everybody was thrilled, not just geeks. We had a special school assembly to watch the moon landing; best day ever!

  18. 18
    Akira MacKenzie

    Oh damn. That’s really a bummer. :(

  19. 19
    kreativekaos

    Armstrong, gone. Learned about it here. Saddened and depressed.

    One of the people I looked up to for the obvious reason, as well as reasons less so, since I was a space and science loving kid of 14, and read about the bios of the Apollo 11 crew in Life magazine.
    An age is passing.

  20. 20
    leahdoner

    There’s a reason Neil Armstrong’s autograph was until now the most valuable of any living person on the planet.

    The man refused to cash in on Apollo 11.

    Buzz Aldrin, on the other hand…

  21. 21
    Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending

    Here is the family’s statement:

    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.

    “For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

    Classy all the way.

  22. 22
    dannysichel

    Goodbye, Neil.

  23. 23
    Olav

    Of course his passing is sad, especially for his family who will miss him. But at least he had a wonderful life and he died at a respectable age. We should all be so lucky.

    The real tragedy is that after the Apollo missions, manned exploration of the moon just stopped. As if beyond Cold War competitiveness, there was no reason to go there anymore. As if the US only went there to show the SU who has the bigger you-know-what.

    A permanently inhabited moon base would have been possible well before the year 2000. Don’t say it was or is impossible. Mr. Armstrong and his colleagues have shown that everything can be done, if people just put their mind to it.

  24. 24
    Natasha

    It occurs to me that nearly 40 years after the last Apollo mission none of the Apollo astronauts are all that young. How long before there is no living human who has orbited or walked on another world?

  25. 25
    Menyambal

    One of the finest.

    And a poet.

    Even if he never said, “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.”

  26. 26
    Trebuchet

    If God had not intended man to go to the Moon, he wouldn’t have given us Neil Armstrong. Along with thousands of other folks.

    If BigG exists, he’s clearly given us the ability to think, to strive, to dream, and to achieve. Among other things. If, as I believe, he does not, we evolved those characteristics. Good for us, mostly.

  27. 27
    Randomfactor

    http://xkcd.com/893/

  28. 28
    John Pieret

    Much sadness on top of nostalgia. My parents (“bless” them for that) woke me up in the middle of the night to watch it. It was burned onto my consciousness in ways my parents might later have regretted but I, in every sense of the words, would not have missed it for the world.

  29. 29
    shockna

    He now passes into the realm of myth and legend. RIP Neil Armstrong.

    Another man that I was hoping to somehow meet before he passed, gone. The space geek in me is sad.

    I would hope this somehow re-ignites a desire to explore the universe, but this feels like wishful thinking.

  30. 30
    Julien Rousseau

    Goodbye Neil, and thanks for making so many humans feel human above all, if only for a short time.
    Some say he served his nation well, and they are right, but he also served to whole of humanity well (along with Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and the rest of NASA).
    Got tears in my eyes now.

  31. 31
    jamesheartney

    When the Apollo astronauts all pass away we’ll all be definitively earthbound. The only space experience anyone will have is near Earth orbit, which hardly counts.

    My long-held opinion was that manned space exploration was a waste of time and money. Been reading Kim Stanley Robinson and now I’m not so sure. Not sure the Moon is the best place to go next anyway; might make more sense to head to the asteroids. Tons of raw materials, and no gravity well.

  32. 32
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Thank you, Neil. Knowing human beings such as you lived productive and good lives, just being simple human beings, is what gets me through a day of hearing about the OTHER kinds of human beings – those who fit Mark Twain’s definition.

    You’re dead now and do not exist outside of our memories, but RIP there. You will be remembered.

  33. 33
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    For 43 years now those who walked on the moon have walked among us, and some still do.

    It won’t be long before we can no longer say that.

  34. 34
    Amphiox

    At this stage, I don’t see much utility in further manned space exploration. There’s very little that robots don’t do better, faster or cheaper on te exploration front.

    Future manned spaceflight needs to be about colonization.

  35. 35
    thomasvos

    On him, PZ. On him.

  36. 36
    earwig

    “It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”

  37. 37
    raven

    Space flight utlility.

    1. If the dinosaurs had a space program, they wouldn’t be extinct.

    2. The galaxy appears empty right now. With workable space flight, we could spread out and own a system of a trillion stars.

    Without settling other planets, we are almost certainly doomed. If nothing else, the earth’s biosphere will die in about 2 billion years.

    Or a Chixulub class asteroid could drop in next week.

    Our Hi Tech civilization is barely a century old and look at what we can do. Who knows what we can do a millennia from now.

  38. 38
    John Morales

    Lyn M purportedly quotes the family’s statement:

    “Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. [...]

    I find it a bit insulting to him to deny his own opinion; perhaps he knew his own position better than others did, and he really was just a guy doing a job.

    (As for heroism, I fail to see any such as compared to anyone else just doing their job)

  39. 39
    Ing

    1. If the dinosaurs had a space program, they wouldn’t be extinct.

    maybe they did and died out from a satellite drop!?

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending

    John Morales

    And not only did I send three links, anyone can google this. I used Neil Armstrong family statement.

    I think the links comment is in moderation.

    Finally, I was struck by what they did not say. Not a word about religion, beyond a reference to sending a wink to the moon.

  42. 42
    Jafafa Hots

    A couple of days ago it came out that Gene Cernan, LAST man to walk on the moon, is a birther.

    A number of the people we sent turned out to be disappointments. Armstrong knew that he was just the lucky guy with thousands working to give him the trip, and appropriately quiet afterward when others would have made themselves the story.

    Having read the bios of Deke Slayton, Gunter Wendt and others who were involved in the decision-making, they reveal that Armstrong was chosen to be first for this very reason.

    They changed protocol from previous missions to have the Commander exit first, because Aldrin was already going around insisting he should be first, lobbying for it, and ready to make hay from it if that happened. They were pretty adamant that Aldrin not be first under any circumstances. Of the men available they chose the perfect one.

  43. 43
    John Morales

    Lyn M,

    Finally, I was struck by what they did not say. Not a word about religion, beyond a reference to sending a wink to the moon.

    A wink to him when the moon smiles at one, was the request.

    But it’s a good point (one I didn’t notice) that no religion polluted the family statement.

  44. 44
    Jafafa Hots

    Armstrong’s mother was pretty much a fundamentalist. He humored her and wouldn’t say anything to hurt her, but he didn’t feel the same way. He was at most a tentative deist.
    Shortly before she died she expressed doubt, but said that having lived with belief had made her happy and so she didn’t regret it.

    (Yes, I am a total NASA geek)

  45. 45
    Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending

    I own a copy of his biography and have since 1975. He was indeed a geek of awesome proportions.

  46. 46
    crowepps

    I remember watching this on TV and being just absolutely *thrilled* by every second of it as it unfolded.

  47. 47
    chakolate

    I remember that night. The original plan had been for the astronauts to sleep and do the first moon walk when it would be morning in most of the US. But whatever idiot decided that would be a good idea didn’t count on astronauts who would be too excited to sleep.

    My dad was yelling from the bottom of the stairs, “Come on! Hurry! They’re going to do it tonight!” and we all thundered down the stairs to the tv room (there was only one tv in the house, of course). There was dead silence from all of us.

    And then we saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. We saw a human being walk on the moon.

    To me, that moment separated all of human history into two parts: our infancy, and our journey outward to the stars.

    RIP, Neil Armstrong.

  48. 48
    John Morales

    chakolate:

    RIP, Neil Armstrong.

    What, no zombiehood? :)

  49. 49
    Jafafa Hots

    His only official bio, from a couple years back, is worth reading. I did a couple of months ago.

  50. 50
    Amphiox

    1. If the dinosaurs had a space program, they wouldn’t be extinct.

    That would depend on how far along they got. If they only got as far as we are now, they’d still have been toast.

    But at any rate, they went for a powered flight program, and they actually did survive!

  51. 51
    krubozumo

    Farewell Mr. Armstrong, farewell.

    Many good comments here, as to be expected. But what can any of us really say about this deed? In a sense I think chakolate nailed it, it was a watershed moment in history.

    Who among us, that were alive to witness this event, could have possibly imagined the benighted and spurious hysteria that pervades our present politics and discourse?

    Some still claim it never happened. It was all staged, just a hollywood production. So far I have seen no one claim it is the source of all our current afflictions, having the audacity to refute dog’s laws by actually venturing forth into what is poetically known as the heavens, and finding there, hard vacuum,
    basalts, anorthosites, and that curious regolith of meteoritic debris…

    He was brave, he was humble, he was pragmatic, he was disciplined, he was very much himself. He was above all human.

    His life enriched us all, and he took no profit from it. What he did was extraordinary, but why he did it was – just human.

    Farewell Mr. Armstrong, farewell.

  52. 52
    sundiver

    Loved his response when informed that during the last tense moments before the LM touched down his heartrate had soared to 156 BPM, “I’d very disturbed with myself if it hadn’t!”

  53. 53
    davem
    1. If the dinosaurs had a space program, they wouldn’t be extinct.

    maybe they did and died out from a satellite drop!?

    They’ve been sending signals to us for the last 2 million years, but we haven’t replied yet…

    (As for heroism, I fail to see any such as compared to anyone else just doing their job)

    You lack imagination. Let’s suppose that your journey to work tomorrow involves a significant chance of dying. Will you go to work or stay at home?

  54. 54
    Louis

    I shall raise a glass of beer and a calculator in his honour.

    Louis

  55. 55
    madtom1999

    Louis – better make that a Guiness cos if there was a heaven you can guarantee there will be an Irish Theme pub there. In fact if you listen to Neils first speech on the moon you can just hear some irish music in the background.
    To Neil and all the people who made it there. Cheers for a beautiful dream.

  56. 56
    Nick Gotts

    A fine man by all accounts. Condolences to his family and friends.

  57. 57
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Vale Neil. One of the greatest and most different of human explorers and heroes.

    All men die. Hardly any – just eleven others so far – can leave behind footprints in the regolith of another world that will last for millions of years to come.

    PS. The Bad Astronomer has a good post here :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/08/25/neil-armstrong-1930-2012/

    and FTB’s Zinularity blog also has a good post here :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/zingularity/2012/08/25/neil-armstrong-has-passed-away/

    worth Lunar history from before my birth recored for posterity well worth seeing I think if folks haven’t already done so.

  58. 58
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    That’s :

    .. with Lunar history from before my birth recorded for posterity

    O’course, sorry.

    @44. Lyn M: Necrodunker of death, nothing but net :

    I own a copy of his biography and have since 1975. He was indeed a geek of awesome proportions.

    &

    @48.Jafafa Hots :

    His only official bio, from a couple years back, is worth reading. I did a couple of months ago.

    That would be James R.Hansen’s First Man’ :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Man:_The_Life_of_Neil_A._Armstrong

    Right?

    Not sure about the biography Lyn M mentioned – what’s the title & who wrote that one, Lyn M, if I may ask please?

    From the xkcd cartoon (The text appearing when you hover the mouse over that xkcd cartoon graph.) linked by (#27.) Randomfactor :

    “The universe is probably littered with the one planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there’s no good reason to go into space – each discovered, studied and remembered by the ones that made the irrational decision.”

    I agree with most of that very strongly – although I’d disagree that failing to do space exploration is a “sensible economic decision.” Probably. I ‘spose failing to see if you can sail around the world and discover new lands en route or gain the ability to fly are uneconomically sensible too.

    To mash together great slogans and, I think, very true ones :

    We dare these mighty things, dare to boldly go where none have gone before, NOT because they easy but because they are hard.

    Neil died today. He will never be forgotten as long as we humans have history books.
    *****

    ” .. out of the whirlwind came a silent bird from the stars, a symbol of our ability to work with nature, to use our intelligence and within the limitations of our world, to do great things.”
    - David Levy on witnessing the 4th landing of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Page 28, ‘Astronomy’ magazine, October 1982.

  59. 59
    antaresrichard

    I was a church-going evangelical teen back then, but that was one Sunday, god most definitely took a back seat (I skipped services to watch one of humankind’s greatest firsts, and Walter Cronkite of course.)

    ;-)

  60. 60
    joed

    Armstrong’s death is a loss for humanity.
    Michael Collins was third member of Appolo 11.
    Excellent account of lead up to moon landing and collins tells of being really alone when on back side of moon.
    Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journey
    by Michael Collins
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/612456.Carrying_the_Fire

  61. 61
    Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending

    StevoR

    No problem, but the book was a gift to me on my graduation in 1975. It was the French edition. I think it was Premier sur la Lune. (First on the Moon) My books are all in Canada, while I am in China. Sorry I can’t be more precise. There was an English edition of the same book.

  62. 62
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @60. Lyn M: Cheers! Thanks for that.

  63. 63
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ 59. joed : Yup. Huge respect to the CSM pilots like Collins who were the loneliest men on Earth (technically speaking given their distance from everyone at some stages when alone in the command modules whilst the Moon walkers,well, walked on Earth’s Moon.) ha danything gone wrong wth the LEMs thos epilots would have ha dtoretrun alone leaving their companion astronauts to die. Horrible thing to contemplate and lots of time alone to think it.

    Same time awe-inpiring experiences too.

    Read Collins book a very long time ago. Still hoping to find a copy to reread and put on my shelves at home now.

  64. 64
    Sili

    So it goes.

  65. 65
    Menyambal

    Yep, Michael Collins in the Command Module was the loneliest human ever. When he was around back of the moon, he was out of all communication and sight of Earth, alone in space, as far from the earth as anyone had ever gone, further from any other human than any other human had ever been, with the two closest humans possibly stuck where they were, and with Collins himself possibly stuck where he was. And he wasn’t getting to walk on the moon.

    Remember him and what he did.

    Still, it is the fact that a man got out and walked—that most human of activities—somewhere other than Earth, for the very first time, that we remember today.

    “Good luck, Mr. Armstrong.”

  66. 66
    Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare

    I grew up thinking of the moon launch crew members as personal heroes, and also feeling somehow attached–my uncle was head science writer for NASA during the moon launch years; my grandparents actually got to go to one of the launches.

    So I’ve noted these recent passings with sorrow. The one thing (as Spider Robinson pointed out some time ago) I never expected after the moon launches is that the US would essentially stop trying to send people out there.

  67. 67
    robinjohnson

    Jafafa Hots, #41:

    They changed protocol from previous missions to have the Commander exit first, because Aldrin was already going around insisting he should be first, lobbying for it, and ready to make hay from it if that happened. They were pretty adamant that Aldrin not be first under any circumstances. Of the men available they chose the perfect one.

    I’ve read this was a practical decision and not a political one: it was much easier to have the Commander exit first, simply because of the positioning of the door.

  68. 68
    'Tis Himself

    cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there’s no good reason to go into space

    Kelly Freas gave a good response to that.

  69. 69
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there’s no good reason to go into space

    Liberturds aRE always and forever STUPID.

  70. 70
    thecalmone

    Today I am inordinately proud of being an engineer.

  71. 71
    rogerscott

    Years ago a weekend newspaper in Australia had an article on the famous twelve. I still have a photocopy but the date was excluded unfortunately. It reported that Neil Armstrong was asked to comment on why he alone of the twelve had not experienced a religious epiphany on the Moon. His reply was “I don’t believe in God”.

  72. 72
    Holms

    One of the rare occasions in which a famous death is actually loss… that said, it does bug me that many seem to have forgotten that Armstrong was part of a trio, all vital to the success of the project. Poor Collins in particular has been all but forgotten.

  73. 73
    Menyambal

    The first man on the moon has died of old age. On Earth. And there’s nobody on the moon to mourn for him.

    http://www.atari.com/lunarlander

  74. 74
    krubozumo

    #
    rogerscot @70

    Give us even a partial citation, what newspaper, some one will track it down if it truly exists, I for one would be interested to know.

    Re: Collins, yes he had a dicey job – must have been both frustrating and thankless.

    I’ll bring it up just to stir the pot a bit. Harrison Schmidt. The only geologist to set foot on the moon, and what did he turn into? It’s a shame his incredible experience was not sufficiently strong to wake him up. I guess in the opposite case of chosing who would be one of the last men to walk on the moon, chosing Schmidt had the exact opposite result of chosing Armstrong.

    Pity really, I expected rather a lot more from a geologist.

    Farewell Mr. Armstrong.

  75. 75
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @70.rogerscott :

    It reported that Neil Armstrong was asked to comment on why he alone of the twelve had not experienced a religious epiphany on the Moon. His reply was “I don’t believe in God”.

    Bad question there based on a false assumption as I’m fairly sure that very few of the twelve Moon walkers experienced “religious epiphanies.”

    Only Charlie Duke (Apollo 16) apparently became a Christian afetr his moonwalk whilst the Late Jim Irwin was already religious but became even more so afterwards and ran a Ministry and searched for Noah’s ark on Mount Ararat. Irwin apparently :

    “.. frequently spoke about how his experiences in space had made the presence of God even more real to him than before.”

    Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Irwin

    I guess you could very arguably add (Apollo 14‘s) Edgar Mitchell’s name tothat epiphanies list. Post Moon walk, Mitchell set up a New Age type (semi?)religious cult and he’s also made some famously eccentric comments on Flying Crockery and things Paranormal but then he was the astronaut who went up there with an unsanctioned ESP “experiment” in mind.

    (See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Mitchell#Other_interests )

    However, that means out of the 12 Moon walkers we have three Duke, Irwin and at a stretch Mitchell who had “religious epiphanies” whilts the other nine* including Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and last man (so far) on the Moon Cernan mostly did NOT have such religious epiphanies.

    Nor, far as I’m aware did the 12 CSM pilots – which include some who later flew Moonwalk missions such as Cernan and Young – or any of the Apollo 13 trio experience any particular life changing religious epiphanies.

    &&&&&&&&&&&&&&

    * Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Pete Conrad, Alan Bean, Alan Shepherd, David Scott, John Young, Gene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt.

  76. 76
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    ^ Sorry about the typos. Also make that :

    Bad question there based on a false assumption premise.

    Hmm.. On checking further, Edgar Mitchell definitely had an epiphany of sorts although NOT a Christian one :

    During the three-day journey back to Earth aboard Apollo 14, Mitchell had an epiphany while looking down on the earth from space. “The presence of divinity became almost palpable, and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident based on random processes … The knowledge came to me directly,” Mitchell said of that experience. Following his spaceflight, Mitchell and others founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

    Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Noetic_Sciences

    Vaguely recalled something like that from reading ‘Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth’ an excellent book on the lives of the Apollo Moonwalkers after they’d landed on the Moon. Well worth reading in my view. Its author , Andrew Smith, also has a BBC doco on Armstrongs life – Being Neil Armstrong – a trip across America to explore the personal history of the first person on the moon.

    FWIW, the Bad Astronomer Phil Plait has taken on Edgar Mitchell’s Flying Crockery comments here :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/04/22/edgar-mitchell-is-at-it-again-yawn/

    and Harrison Schmitt’s HIRGO+ denialism here :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/02/08/moon-walker-climate-change-denier/

    In case folks are interested.

    All the Apollo astronaust will always have huge respect from me – but they are fallible humans too & when they say something that’s wrong, well, it doesn’t become right just because they say it, it just saddens me to see.

    ******

    + Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating

  77. 77
    blf

    My family had never bothered to get a TV until that year. Knowing I was into science — the telescope, chemistry kit, pet mouse, microscope, et al. being clews — they purchased one explicitly in anticipation of the event.

    I feel asleep near the end of the moonwalk…

    Cheers, Commander Armstrong!

  78. 78
    David Marjanović

    I was born less than a year before the first moon landing and when I heard Neil Armstrong had died, my second thought (after, “Oh, man”) was this. I am officially a terrible person. :-(

    Dude, there’s nothing terrible about it. Only America’s finest news source could ever express what a fucking accomplishment it was to walk on the fucking moon.

    One does not simply walk onto the fucking moon.

    Something in there seems strikes me as out of place in an obituary from a scientific institute.

    Yeah, the redundancy: “hero” means “dead American”, so… “American dead American”… most scientists are better writers than that.

    Sic transit gloria mundi.

    …lunaeque?

    A permanently inhabited moon base

    What for?

    I fully agree it’s possible and has been for quite some time, but what would the point be?

    http://xkcd.com/893/

    I disagree with the alt-text: I see no reason to assume that the universe is littered with graves of cultures, or with still extant cultures for that matter.

    On him, PZ. On him.

    True.

    1. If the dinosaurs had a space program, they wouldn’t be extinct.

    You’re assuming they could have colonized some other place.

    2. The galaxy appears empty right now. With workable space flight, we could spread out and own a system of a trillion stars.

    Not before Zefram Cochrane succeeds.

    Without settling other planets, we are almost certainly doomed. If nothing else, the earth’s biosphere will die in about 2 billion years.

    So why haste? Can’t you at least wait for Zefram Cochrane?

    Or a Chi[c]xulub class asteroid could drop in next week.

    Yeah, once every hundred million years. Yellowstone will go up much sooner.

    a millennia

    One millennium, two millennia. Completely regular.

    But at any rate, they went for a powered flight program, and they actually did survive!

    + 1

    Huge respect to the CSM pilots like Collins who were the loneliest men on Earth

    *facepalm*

    Yep, Michael Collins in the Command Module was the loneliest human ever. When he was around back of the moon, he was out of all communication and sight of Earth, alone in space, as far from the earth as anyone had ever gone, further from any other human

    Or, most likely, any other living being except the bacteria in his gut and on his skin.

    Kelly Freas gave a good response to that.

    LOL, no. What would have happened? Columbus had already begun his trip to France to simply ask the next sovereign when the messengers reached him and told him to go back because the queen had changed her mind! Sooner or later, as a matter of decades some western European country would have sent ships across the Atlantic.

  79. 79
    Paul

    So why haste? Can’t you at least wait for Zefram Cochrane?

    Haste because that way we’re not “allowed” into some Federation by green-blooded freaks. We can make our own Federation. We need to fix that silliness about how humans can be controlling members of a Federation that had existed for some time before they discovered Warp travel, instead of simply being quirky sidekicks as you would logically expect for a race so late to the game. This bothers me every time I watch Star Trek.

  80. 80
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    ‘Tis:

    Kelly Freas gave a good response to that.

    I imagine that quite a few Native Americans wish that Isabella had said no.

  81. 81
    josephnobles

    1. I’ve now heard that Neil would sometime start telling terribly, painfully unfunny jokes involving the Moon, and when his audience winced, would sigh, “I guess you had to be there…”

    If this story is true, my estimation of him has doubled.

    2. We should bury Neil on the moon.

  82. 82
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @78.David Marjanović :

    Huge respect to the CSM pilots like Collins who were the loneliest men on Earth
    *facepalm*

    Shit! I didn’t write that did I .. ?

    Scrolls up, rereads #63. D’oh! I did. How could I have .. (Blushes.) Yeah, I didn’t check that one enough did I?

    http://xkcd.com/893/
    I disagree with the alt-text: I see no reason to assume that the universe is littered with graves of cultures, or with still extant cultures for that matter.

    Alt-text? That what you call it eh?

    Well I dunno. Insufficnet evidence but plausible I’d say.

  83. 83
    Menyambal

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rXtG3vfAlA Saturn V Launch Views – High Speed Cams

    Slo-mo of Apollo 11 launch, with some interesting music.

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