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Neil Armstrong

Sad news over the weekend that Neil Armstrong, the very first human to ever step foot on the moon, died at the age of 82.

I was 5 in July 1969, when the amazing Saturn 5 rocket powered out of Cape Canaveral and took the Apollo 11 astronauts to another world. Along with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong was to become a household name, not just because of his “that’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” speech) but also because he seemed like a thoroughly nice bloke and strangely unfazed by his life changing experiences.

The Space Race and Moon landings seem to mean more to my generation than those that followed. I guess it’s because like most kids from the 60’s, I can remember the excitement of being allowed to stay up late with M&D to watch history in the making on our scratchy little black and white telly…

Many years later I would fall for the whole conspiracy thing (the landing photos were faked and they were all in a warehouse in Area 51, or the computers were less powerful than todays mobile phones) …  but I’ve mellowed somewhat and read quite a lot about the moon landings, and I am now pretty convinced that there are indeed footprints in the moon dust…

Personally I think it’s a shame that we no longer think it worthwhile going to the moon “just because it’s there”… The next generation of exploration will almost certainly be money driven as we get ready to hoover up the natural resources and suck a second world dry..

And with the current Mars Curiosity Rover mission having a similar goal of establishing what the planet is worth in terms of minerals, the heroic nature of the Apollo Astronauts endeavours, is something we may never see the like of again…

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