The expression "blue moon" can refer to the second full moon in a calendar month and August, 2012 was such a month.And,under the glow of August's second full moon onAugust 31,a funeral service was held for Neil Armstrong (1930-2012),an American astronaut and the
first man to walk on the moon. Armstrong died on August 25 at age 82 in Cincinnati,Ohio of complications from blocked coronary arteries. "One small step for man; a giant leap for mankind," was the voice of Armstrong transmitted by radio to Earth and heard by tens of millions of television viewers on July 20, 1969. Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were the three crew members of the Apollo 11 moon mission and Armstrong was given the honour of being the one to first walk on the moon. Aldrin also later walked on the Moon while Collins remained in the command module in lunar orbit. Armstrong climbed down the ladder from his lunar module and took those steps in the Moon's Sea of Tranquility, which is not a sea but rather a darker section of the Moon's surface.The Sea ofTranquility is clearly visible in the top right quadrant of the Moon in this photo taken on August 31. Apollo 11 fulfilled the dream of former President John F Kennedy (1917-1963) who initiated a program in 1961 to safely land a man on the moon be-
Photo © Dick Nieuwendyk "Blue Moon" on August 31 says goodbye to Neil Armstrong.
Full moon shines for Neil Armstrong
First man to walk on the moon dies
fore the end of the decade. And, in the early 1960s, Kennedy's dream was considered preposterous by many. The 1960s also saw the "Space Race" pitting the United States against the Soviet Union, each trying to outdo the other with achievements in outer space. TheAmerican landing on the Moon was seen as the ultimate victory for the U.S.A. although the Soviets had begun to cooperate with the Americans during the Apollo 11 mission. Many also credit the birth of the modern environmen- tal movement to the publication of photographs of Earth taken by U.S. astronauts on lunar missions. As a youth, Neil Armstrong took his first flight when he was five years old (coincidentally on July 20,1936),and this sparked a keen interest in aviation according to
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Wikipedia. He earned his flight certificate (pilot's licence) before he was old enough to hold a driver's licence. Armstrong was also very interested in the Boy Scout movement. "Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend," reads a statement from his family. "Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy
Neil Armstrong dies at the age of 82
fighter pilot,test pilot,and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati. "He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits. "As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life."
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