NSS Mourns Neil Armstrong – Calls for Renewed Emphasis on Human Space Exploration
(Washington, DC -- August 26, 2012)
In the wake of Neil Armstrong's passing on Saturday, August 25, National Space Society members worldwide are remembering the Apollo missions that put first Armstrong, then Buzz Aldrin and ultimately 10 other Americans on the surface of the Moon.
NSS leaders emphasized the importance of Armstrong's place in history. Hugh Downs, former host of ABC's 20/20 and Chairman of NSS's Board of Governors stated, "News of Neil Armstrong's passing is so shocking that there is no way it can be absorbed right away as reality. His position in history is deeper than that of any known discoverer or explorer in the history of this planet. As the first human to land on any world outside the Earth, and probably the first living creature of any sort to come from the Earth and reach the Moon, his legacy will be safe as long as intelligent life survives in this corner of the cosmos."
In addition, Buzz Aldrin, Armstrong's Apollo 11 crewmate, second man on the Moon and member of NSS's Board of Governors said about the Apollo 11 mission and his memories of Neil, "I am deeply saddened by the passing of my good friend, and space exploration companion, Neil Armstrong, today. As Neil, Mike Collins and I trained together for our historic Apollo 11 mission, we understood the many technical challenges we faced, as well as the importance and profound implications of this historic journey. We will now always be connected as the crew of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, yet for the many millions who witnessed that remarkable achievement for humankind, we were not alone.
"Whenever I look at the Moon I am reminded of that precious moment, over four decades ago, when Neil and I stood on the desolate, barren, yet beautiful, Sea of Tranquility, looking back at our brilliant blue planet Earth suspended in the darkness of space, I realized that even though we were farther away from Earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by many millions of others from around the world in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a historic moment in human history."
As we remember the historic achievement and heroic stature of Neil Armstrong, NSS calls on its members, NASA, the US government and nations around the world to not let his singular achievement remain singular. "Humanity will one day become a truly space-faring species and millions of people will venture beyond the Earth. But Neil Armstrong will always be the first among us to set foot on another world," said Paul E. Damphousse, NSS Executive Director. "Today we mark his passing and celebrate his place in history. He was one of the giants upon whose shoulders we stand, and we will honor his legacy by continuing our efforts to move humanity into the cosmos."
According to our vision of human beings living and working in space and utilizing the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity, NSS is committed to ensuring that Armstrong's "giant leap for mankind" will be followed up by the next important steps: returning to the Moon, and moving on to asteroids, Mars, and beyond.
About The National Space Society (NSS): NSS is an independent, educational, grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded when the National Space Institute and the L5 Society merged in 1987, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space. NSS has over 10,000 members and supporters, and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. To learn more about NSS visit www.nss.org.