Retired astronaut Neil Armstrong was remembered at a public memorial service held yesterday (Sept. 13) at the Washington National Cathedral, and I wanted to share some thoughts ranging from the historic landing on the moon to future exploration on Mars.
First, here's a tribute video of Armstrong, the commander of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon (it also is can be found the NASA website here in an article about the memorial service):
I also want to share a few more videos. The first one is Armstrong famous words he spoke when he became the first person to step on the moon on July 20, 1969: "That is one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind." Interestingly, I watched a documentary several years ago that disputed whether he had left out the word "a" before man. I recall that one analysis of the audio concluded that the word "a" was indeed said but it couldn't be heard through the audio equipment. Armstrong claimed he said "a" for years but eventually doubted himself after hearing the recording several times. Regardless of this little dispute, here is the video:
Another video I like is Armstrong making a reference to science fiction legend Jules Verne and his book From the Earth to the Moon while Armstrong was on the Eagle that took him and his crew to the moon. Here it is:
Of course, many astronauts and NASA personnel were, and still are today, science fiction fans. They grew up reading books about what it could be like to go the moon and Mars. Now that we know what it's like to travel to the moon after the historic Apollo 11 mission, the next generation of astronauts may see what its like to make the first steps on Mars.
A lot of attention has been made to the Curiosity rover that successfully landed on Mars on Aug. 6. It's still exploring the planet and taking photographs of the planet's surface, so I also want to share a photo from the NASA website. It reminds my of planet Tatooine from Star Wars. Anyone else agree?
So what are your thoughts about Armstrong and the past and future NASA missions?