Neil Armstrong, 1930 – 2012

Neil Armstrong in the Apollo 11 lunar module on the surface of the Moon, July 1969.
NASA
The first man to step on another world died Saturday.

Watching a black-and-white TV on July 20, 1969 as starry-eyed teenagers, I and my group of intimate friends agreed with the commentator (it may have been our guru, Robert Heinlein), who declared that thousands of years from now, the first landing on another world might well be the one thing for which people will remember the United States of America. I still think that could be true.

And it is sobering to realize that every person who has stepped on another world — the other 11 Apollo astronauts who landed on the Moon from 1969 to 1972 — may also be gone before anyone does it again. When you go to that link, hover your cursor over the graphic.

Armstrong's family has issued a statement that's going around the internet. Here is its final paragraph:

Alan MacRobert

P.S.: Here is an excellent, modern 360° panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site, assembled from the photographs that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin brought back.

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