Saturday, 25 August 2012

Neil Armstrong 1930-2012

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

We were saddened to learn today of the passing of astronaut Neil Armstrong, who famously was the first man to walk upon the surface of the moon. His historic landing and walk became an inspiration for generations to come, both in the worlds of science and science-fiction.

Buzz Aldrin, who travelled with Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission and also walked on the moon alongside him, said:
I am very saddened to learn of the passing of Neil Armstrong today. Neil and I trained together as technical partners but were also good friends who will always be connected through our participation in the mission of Apollo 11. Whenever I look at the moon it reminds me of the moment over four decades ago when I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a landmark moment in human history. I had truly hoped that in 2019, we would be standing together along with our colleague Mike Collins to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing. Regrettably, this is not to be. Neil will most certainly be there with us in spirit.

On behalf of the Aldrin family, we extend our deepest condolences to Carol and the entire Armstrong family. I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer.

May he Rest in Peace
NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden said:
On behalf of the entire NASA family, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Carol and the rest of Armstrong family on the passing of Neil Armstrong. As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind's first small step on a world beyond our own.

Besides being one of America's greatest explorers, Neil carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all. When President Kennedy challenged the nation to send a human to the moon, Neil Armstrong accepted without reservation.

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.

Armstrong was also to find a "starring" role in Doctor Who itself, when his mission to the moon became a focal point for the resolution of last year's episode Day of the Moon - as his famous first words upon stepping onto the surface were watched by the millions of viewers around the world, the Doctor was able to broadcast his own message to defeat the Silents.