Armstrong as a Heroic Ideal
August 25, 2012
I wasn't born yet when Armstrong first set foot on the Moon.
My parents remember the night, even though they themselves were young and far-removed from the world of space travel and science. But even though I wasn't there, Armstrong was always a presence. From a young age you know his name, even if most of us (sadly) don't know the others that went after him. The culture itself provides such a powerful representation of Armstrong that even though I wasn't there to see the moonwalk itself, I feel his death in my bones.
There was something strangely comforting about the idea that this historical figure was quietly living his life on a farm in Ohio. It's very...Washingtonian (or Adamsian?) of him, I guess. The idea that after great service and fame that the man had no further pursuits beyond doing his duty. That he just wanted to go on with his life without basking in glory. It's a type of person that we all read about and convince ourselves don't exist in this day and age.
Except they do, occasionally. We just have to look.
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.