Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, recently passed away at the age of 82. While he garnered an iconic status for his role in the Apollo 11 lunar mission, Armstrong was an intensely private man who rarely made public appearances. At news of his death, mourners across the country remembered the man who captured the world with a single step.
Armstrong began his career as a pilot, first flying planes in the Korean War then as a research test pilot in Ohio. In 1962 he became an astronaut and earned respect from NASA after safely aborting a space docking mission that had gone awry, thereby saving equipment and potentially lives. NASA authorities saw Armstrong's natural modesty and cool attitude under pressure, and decided that he should represent the organization as the first man on the moon.
Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crewmates Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins launched towards the moon in 1969. Upon descending to the moon's surface, Armstrong famously said, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Since that time, he has spoken about the power of science and space exploration to bring people together, even such adversaries as the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
"In the words of the Armstrong family, 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." -Charles Bolden, Jr., administrator, NASA.
"Neil just felt that all the attention on him was just out of place." - James Hansen, author, "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong.
1. Who was Neil Armstrong?
2. What do you know about the missions to the moon?
3. What is NASA?
1. Do you think Americans still have the same fascination with space exploration as they did during the time of the moon landings? Why or why not?
2. Why do you think NASA made it a priority to land on the moon?
3. Do you think that science and technology can unite people? Why or why not?