Since the 1960′s, humankind has been scraping at the heavens to learn more about where we sit in the Universe. In all of human history, there have only been twelve people to ever set foot on another world. With the death of Neil Armstrong this past Saturday, that number has been reduced to eight living members of this 235,000 mile-high club.
They say that viewing the Earth from orbit for the first time bestows upon you a new sense of perspective—a euphoria reminiscent of a religious experience. Neil, viewing the Earth from atop the dusty rock in the sky, was humbled by his accomplishment. He lived out the rest of his life as an inspiration to us all to dare mighty things, but to never forget our place within the bigger picture.
Now it’s likely that we will set foot on Mars within my lifetime, and perhaps farther outward still. I like to think that the Moon was our springboard into the rest of the solar system, and with each new footprint left on a distant planet, we’ll remember that first one.
Want an idea of what it’s like up there? Check out this breathtaking interactive panorama.
Because Neil was the guy holding the camera during the first moonwalk, he is largely absent from the subsequent photos. Motherboard was kind enough to put together a wonderful collection of snapshots of him on doing cool stuff on Earth.
While America was the first to reach the moon, the Apollo astronauts were aware of the sacrifices made by people like them around the world. Among the things left up there was a satchel containing medals commemorating cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Komarov for their historic spaceflights. I have not been able to find a photo of the medals, but you can read about it in the mission transcript. (Ctrl-F over to 111:36:55.)