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Armstrong Makes the Final Leap

We at Nerd Bastards wish to salute Neil Armstrong, an American navy officer, test pilot, scientist and astronaut, who died today at the age of 82.

“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures,” said a statement from the Armstrong family.

Despite his monumental place in history as the first person to walk on the moon, Armstrong was always humble. “I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer,” he said in a 2000 interview.

The self-styled nerd Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930 on a farm near Wapakoneta, Ohio. He first flew in a plane when he was 6 years old, an experience that would turn into a lifelong fascination. As a kid, Armstrong built model planes before graduating to the real thing at the age of 16 when he got his pilot’s license, and he didn’t even yet know how to drive yet.

Armstrong went to Purdue University and studied aeronautical engineering until his studies were interrupted when he was called to serve in the armed forces during the Korean War. As a U.S. Navy pilot, he flew 78 combat missions before returning stateside to finish his degree. Armstrong then received a masters degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California before joining the then fledgling National Aeronautics and Space Administration as a test pilot, flying more than 200 kinds of aircraft from gliders to jets. Armstrong was in the second class of astronauts in 1962, and first went to space on Gemini 8 in 1966 performing the first ever space dock.

But it was 4:18 pm on July 20, 1969 that Armstrong became an American hero. Armstrong, with fellow Apollo 11 crew member Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, spent over two hours on the moon’s surface collecting rocks, setting up science experiments, and erecting an American flag, while Michael Collins manned the command module in orbit. Armstrong remains one of only 12 men to ever set foot on another world.

After returning home from the moon, Armstrong was appointed deputy associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA in 1970, but he left a year later to teach aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati, where he retired from science entirely in 1979, buying a 310-acre farm near Lebanon, where he raised cattle and corn. Through the 43 years after his moon landing, Armstrong shied away from the media spotlight, only occasionally making appearances and granting interview requests. He last spoke out publicly in 2010 in regards to the Obama administration’s funding cuts to NASA.

“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,” said the statement.

To salute Neil Armstrong, let’s relive the moment he and Aldrin landed on the moon.*

*Which was not followed by a secret mission to investigate a downed Autobot spaceship as related in Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon. Sorry, we had to get some kind of nerd movie reference in there somewhere.

Source: Huffington Post

 

 

Category: Nerd Culture

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