76. NEIL ARMSTRONG: A giant among men
Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) was a aerospace engineer, Navy pilot, test pilot, university professor and did something else I’m not sure of. Oh right, he was an astronaut and was the first human to set foot on the moon! Silly me. I’m sure you’ve all read many tributes and better-written obituaries to this great man, so I’ll just be brief. In my opinion the most impressive thing about Armstrong was his humility. He hated the public spotlight, did very few interviews, was intensely private and always modest. The thing is, he could totally be forgiven for having a huge ego because let’s face it, Neil Armstrong was freakin’ awesome!! He was just the best. Let’s do a quick rundown of his awesomeness credentials: He got his pilot’s license when he was 15, before he was old enough to drive. He flew in 78 combat missions during the Korean War. After the war he became a test pilot where he flew over 200 aircraft. 200! Those were extremely dangerous and experimental aircraft. I can’t think of a more badass job, except maybe oh, I dunno, how about an astronaut?! As command pilot of Gemini 8 he completed the first successful docking of two spacecraft and while testing landing vehicles for the Apollo missions he barely survived a crash when he ejected himself from an out-of-control vehicle the moment before it burst into flames (check out the footage, it’s crazy). Even more incredible is the fact he went back to work that same afternoon. Then of course, during the Apollo 11 landing, Armstrong took over manual control after noticing the Lunar landing module was off-track and was all like “Relax dudes, I’ve got this”. The fact he remained humble after all these achievements and played down his role in history is just so damn impressive. What a guy.
- Here’s a nice tribute video from Hank Green of SciShow.
- I don’t actually have a source for this quote. Does anyone know specifically when Armstrong said it?
- Thanks to Kapitein and Derek for suggesting this quote.
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