Tag Archives: neil armstrong

AstroPicture of the Day: The First Space Selfie, 1966

In a tweet last month, astronaut Buzz Aldrin informed us that he was the first to ever take a selfie – in outer space. The mission took place from November 11 and lasted 3 days, 22 hours and 34 minutes. The two-man crew included Aldrin and James Lovell Jr. That was Aldrin’s first space flight. Years after, both he and Lovell would be part of the first mission to the Moon, alongside Neil Armstrong, on 21 July 1969.

So remember kids, selfies are really cool in outer space; on Earth… that’s a different story.


Neil Armstrong to be buried at sea

ZME Science would like to say farewell to one of the greatest people to ever walk the face of the Earth – not only because he was the first man to walk on the Moon, but because of his attitude, knowledge, and contribution to science.

Neil Armstrong told his family this is how he wants to be buried, and they will make his final wish come true. The Navy confirmed it would perform the ceremony, but it would not say where, when or from which ship, citing the Armstrong family’s wishes for privacy.

“He’s a Navy man,” said fellow astronaut and longtime friend Jim Lovell.

Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the Moon, dies

Neil Armstrong: 1930-2012. This is not something I wanted to write down – and I feel extremely sad and awkward doing it.

The man who took the first step on the Moon died due to a heart condition. The American hero, 82 years old, who never dwelled on his success, and never tried to milk his fame for any reasons whatsoever is no longer with us. Despite the support and adoration of an entire planet, he wanted the world to applaud the team achievement, not the man – so this is what we’ll do.

Apollo 11 members, as Buzz Aldrin so brilliantly describe, faced numerous technical difficulties, and they understood the importance and meaning of their mission; the mission required an almost unthinkable amount of trust in the team, and the plan was as brave as it was clever. That first moment, in the Sea of Tranquility was, indeed, one small step for man, and one giant step for mankind.

I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer — born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow. As an engineer, I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession.

Aldrin hoped that on July 20th, 2019, he would meet up with Armstrong and Michael Collins, the third member of the mission, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing – but he was wrong. Armstrong stated that during his lifetime, we would most likely build permanently manned outposts on the Moon – and he was wrong too. But space technology took some incredibly large steps, despite numerous set backs and budget cuts – if you think about it, today’s average cell phones are more powerful than Apollo 11’s computers. But somehow, we seem to have lost that thirst for knowledge and exploration.

“I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul … we’re required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream” – Neil Armstrong.

This is the legacy Armstrong wanted – he wanted us to continue pursuing the nature of our inner soul. If we are to honour his memory, we must honour space exploration, as well as any other scientific endeavour that forces us to extend our limits. This is what the pilot, the engineer, the brave, shy man,  would have wanted.

NASA shakes down granny for attempting to sell moon rock

Looks like one of NASA‘s latest priorities is to protect its lunar heritage from illegal black market trade of moon artifacts, evident in a recently highly publicized case in which a 74 year old grandmother attempting to sell a moon rock was intercepted by armed government officials.
Part of an elaborate operation, federal agents tracked down Joanna Davis at a Denny’s dinner, after which she was taken into custody along with a speck of lunar dust smaller than a grain of rice, as well as a nickel-sized piece of the heat shield that protected the Apollo 11 space capsule.

According to the elderly woman, both artifacts were given as a gift to her late husband, who used to work as an engineer for North American Rockwell (they had contracts with NASA during the Apollo era), by Neil Armstrong himself, allegedly. Apparently, she was trying to self them off to pay for her sick son’s expenses.

Although space rocks and other memorabilia have been offered as a gift by the US government to various institutions, countries and high ranking individuals, these too still remain in the property of the US. The selling of such objects for profit is considered a serious infraction, and as such the US government is trying to get ahold of anyone attempting such a deed. I, for one, am curious if NASA is specking all the lunar rock frauds down on eBay.

“It’s a very upsetting thing,” Davis told The Associated Press. “It’s very detrimental, very humiliating, all of it a lie.”

If this story wasn’t humorous enough, the granny decided to contact NASA officials for tips on how to sell it, back in May 10th, which eventually tipped them off. According to a NASA official, Davis was fully aware that the artifacts she had in her custody not too long ago were illegal to trade on the open market, since she mentioned several times the term “black market” in conversations. Curiously, though, Davis agreed to sell the sample to NASA for a stellar $1.7 million. Well, little did she knew.

In a previous statement, Neil Armstrong claimed that he never gave out any kind of lunar samples or Apollo missions remnants to any individual. NASA refused to provide any details on the matter, and no charges were filled against Davis.

This reminds me, you guys remember how some NASA interns stole a few hundred pounds of moon rocks  and then arranged them on a bed, on which they later had sex? Yes, this is all 100% true. Adrenaline beats comfort, I guess.

unknown photoshop credit. via Gizmodo

Short fact: the first man to pee on the moon, Buzz Aldrin

unknown photoshop credit. via Gizmodo

unknown photoshop credit. via Gizmodo

There were a lot of firsts during the initial lunar landings, especially during the very first Apollo 11 mission. There was, of course, the obvious first famous moon walk by Neil Armstrong, the first country to land on the moon, the first word spoken from the moon, and so on. A new genesis of gestures and representations of life in an otherwise dead as they come space rock. Here’s a fun little fact, though, one that few people but Apollo 11-nerds know about — the first man to pee on the moon was Buzz Aldrin, the Lunar Module pilot and the second man to ever set foot on the moon.

Of course, he didn’t actually pee on the moon, Aldrin took his lunar leak into a special bag in his space suit, before trying to climb the Apollo 11 lander’s ladder.

“Everyone has their firsts on the moon, and that one hasn’t been disputed by anybody,” he said in the 2007 Apollo-program documentary In the Shadow of the Moon.

Aldrin, a U.S. national hero by all accounts, is now retired and is enjoying the quiet simple life, going on book tours (he co-authored a number of books, including his most recent one “Magnificent Desolation”), getting a facelift and performing his very own rap song. Hats off to you, sir!

Yuri Gagarin’s historic first space flight recreated on video

While almost anyone in the world has an image in their head of  Neil Armstrong making mankind’s hugest steps, in the case of a similarly important historical astronautical milestone there isn’t any video footage of Yuri Gagarin’s 1961 orbit around the world – just audio radio conversations.

Yuri Gagarin was the first human to journey into outer space when his Vostok spacecraft launched successfully and completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961. After re-entry, Gagarin ejected from the craft and landed safely by parachute. Yuri died of an untimely death in a 1968 jet crash, the Vostok being his first and only space flight, although he was a back-up for the Soyuz 1 mission, which ended in tragedy.

In 2011, fifty years Gagarin’s orbital flight, the crew of the International Space Station have recreated the view of Earth from the same path Gagarin’s capsule took, in high-definition video. The resulting film is titled “FirstOrbit” and will launch on Youtube next month, on the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s flight.

More trailers here.

New footage of Moon Landing found

A long lost footage of the best minutes of the moon landing (Neil Armstrong going down the ladder) has been found in Australian archives and will be released next week in Sidney. Wait, What ?! How do you lose footage of the Moon landing ? Just like that, according to Australian archivists.

The film was lost for decades and when found, was badly damaged, according to John Sarkissian, historian and astronomer in Sidney. He also said that this was the “best quality of Armstrong descending the ladder“.

“NASA were using the Goldstone (California) station signal, which had its settings wrong, but in the signals being received by the Australian stations you can actually see Armstrong. In what people have seen before you can barely see Armstrong at all, you can see something black — that was his leg.”

From the available information, the footage is just a few minutes long, and will be released next Wednesday, at the awards night of Australian Geographic magazine, where Buzz Aldrin, astronaut on Apollo 11 will be the guest of honor.