Pow! ZOOM! To the Moon!

By Phil Plait | August 26, 2012 6:56 am

[I was going to wait to post this until next week, but with Neil Armstrong's death I've decided to put it up now. If he could risk his life open up the Moon as a world for all mankind, the least I can do is share it as much as I can.]

If you need a little extra dollop of awesome in your day, then try zooming in and flying over the surface of the Moon, care of astronomer Pete Lawrence’s incredible mosaic of our nearest cosmic neighbor:

[You may need to refresh this page if you don't see the Moon picture directly above this sentence.]

Click the button on the lower right that makes the picture expand to fit the browser, then zoom in and out using the + and - buttons. Click and drag to fly around. Make vrooom vroom noises.

Make sure you zoom in all the way and then cruise over the terminator, the day/night line. Trust me.

This ridiculously cool image is composed of 166 separate sub-images taken over the course of just 45 minutes on August 10, 2012. He used a Celestron 14" with a video camera. Get this: each of the 166 sub-images is actually made up of 1000 separate video frames, which are stacked and processed to pick out the best bits of each one, resulting in a single high-quality frame. So he really took 166,000 images!

That’s so cool. I love what digital cameras have done for astronomy.

Pete’s images of the sky are amazing; check them out at digitalsky.org, and you can keep up with him on Twitter.

He also sent me this shot he took in 2009 showing the Moon in three different phases; you must click it to see it full size. It’s pretty impressive.

I should probably Photoshop a wolf in there.

Tip o’ the lens cap to Will Gater.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: Moon, Pete Lawrence

Comments (53)

  1. jorenko

    Wow. It’s amazing how, when panning around fully zoomed in, I can see the separate stitched frames wobbling as it moves them and pulls in better resolutions, and my brain says: Atmospheric Turbulence, as if I was viewing live in my own scope.

  2. Messier Tidy Upper

    Uh Oh. I’m seeing triple … Didn’t think I’d drunk that much yet! ;-)

    Hmm .. I think the second cartoon in this here :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/rodda/2012/08/05/sunday-funnies-22/

    “Sunday funnies” series on Chris Rodda’s blog may hopefully be worth noting here in context given the title. ;-)

    Bam! Straight there! ;-)

    (And its only funny because we all know he was never serious ‘k?)

  3. KAE

    I turned 10 years old on July 10th,1969 and 10 days later we landed on the Moon. I’ve been fascinated with the Moon ever since. Later on I got my first telescope – a used Criterion RV-6 Dynascope. Although I always wanted a 14″ Celestron (still do), I spent hours exploring our neighbor in space with it. This brings back a lot of memories; The Straight Wall, Plato & Pico… I might have start saving for a new “toy”.
    Thank you.

  4. Wzrd1

    What IS the greatest resolution of lunar objects by Earth bound optics? 100 meters? 10 meters? That scale of resolution.

  5. J.D. Fisher

    That’s no moon.

    Wait, yes it is.

  6. Wow! so I did as you suggested and was following the terminator line and noticed two what I can only guess are HUGE rocks from some ancient collision. they seem to make shadows a fair bit longer than the rest of the stuff near by. About 3/4 the way to the north. How big would those have to be to see them so clearly? Really cool way to start my day Zooming and Vrooming around the moon.LOL. thanks Phil.

  7. Arthur Maruyama

    @ Wzrd1:

    Actually BA dealt with your question here:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/08/12/moon-hoax-why-not-use-telescopes-to-look-at-the-landers/
    Basically even using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) which has the best resolution of any Earth optical telescope*, it can only resolve objects on the Moon that are about 200 meters across. As BA put it: “even a football stadium on the Moon would look like a dot to Hubble.”

    * Yes, the HST is in orbit but being above the atmosphere it HAD superior resolution over any telescope on the ground. Developments in adaptive optics have them now challenging the HST. Being in orbit means that at best the HST is 250 miles closer than ground-based telescopes, a trivial amount compared to the distance to the Moon

  8. So if I understand this correctly the 2 rocks I asked about upthread are small mountains not rocks? I figured they were big but what are talking abou?t a mile across? Bigger?

  9. The moon’s a bit bright for my little Mak, so I squint a bit and reach for a high-mag eyepiece (may go for filters later). Still, the outer edge of the disk is pretty dramatic that way, as it is in this mosaic: you can see craters and mounts as irregularities in the disk.

  10. Frost Bite

    vrooom! vroom!
    “The moon was like this awesome, romantic, mysterious thing, hanging up there in the sky where you could never reach it, no matter how much you wanted to”
    -Philip J. Fry

  11. FYI: dragging the image doesn’t work on a mobile device. It’s cool anyway, and the resolution is great.

  12. davem

    What I notice is that there are striations going top-left to bottom-right across the entire moon (at least on the terminator line as directed). What’s with that?

  13. shunt1

    On topic and would like to hear what you think about this:

    ……..

    Neil Armstrong: Barack Obama under pressure to grant state funeral.

    State funerals, held in the US capital Washington DC, are steeped in tradition and usually only held for former presidents, the last being Gerald Ford in 2006.

    The last non-president to be granted one was Gen Douglas MacArthur, the Second World War and Korean War soldier, in 1964, five years before Armstrong landed on the moon. Such an event typically involves pall-bearers from five branches of the US Armed Forces, a series of artillery salutes, a fly-past and a number of bands and choirs.

    The flag-draped coffin is taken in a horse-drawn gun-carriage and placed in the Capitol rotunda for a public viewing, and a service is held at the Washington National Cathedral. Bill Johnson, a Republican congressman from Armstrong’s home state of Ohio, led calls for the astronaut to get a similar honor.

    “I ask President Obama to hold a state funeral for Neil Armstrong so that every American may pay tribute to this groundbreaking hero,” he said. “His first step on the moon showed the world that Americans can do anything.”

    …….

    Personally, I think that all three Apollo 11 astronauts have earned a state funeral and the nation’s highest form of recognition.

  14. KAE

    @13 shunt1: It’s a nice sentiment, but I think he would have hated the idea. It’s not how he lived his life. I think a small private ceremony would be more fitting.

  15. shunt1

    Since a Republican originated the idea in Congress, I rather expected that you would be against the idea.

    Neil Armstrong desired a private life while he was living and that has always been respected.

    Now, it is time for the people of this nation and the planet Earth to honor the three Apollo 11 astronauts for their historical achievement.

    They changed world history forever!

    Each and every nation should perform their version of a state funeral, to honor what these men had done for our species.

    Not for one person, but to recognize the thousands of people that made the event happen.

  16. shunt1

    Phil should make this a separate topic.

    I felt this was too important to post on yesterday’s…

  17. shunt1

    Obama and the left will stop this any way they can … nothing that smacks of any kind of American patriotism’s can be allow this close to the election.

    If we can’t honor our heroes, especially men who put their lives on the line, both in and out of uniform, for this country in order to save some money, then we cease being a great nation. We can’t spend even a “dime” to honor one of our greatest patriots?

    We increase the national debt by $4 billion a day and you want to save taxpayer money on the backs of our heroes?

    And yes, I did stay up into the middle of the night to watch Neil Armstrong “live” as he took his first step on the moon. Some of us “old farts” remember when this was all real.

  18. flip

    If you zoom really really really close, you can see a thin white band running around the edge of the limb on the left – what is that? An artifact, or something else?

  19. shunt1

    We honor people for their unique and significant achievements whether it was Columbus or Washington or the Wright brothers. Yes, they didn’t do it on their own in terms of the achievement. We can’t honor all of Columbus’ crew or the men who served under Washington or the work done on a flight that they built upon.

    Honoring Armstrong, the point of the spear, is a testimony to the expertise, skill, and daring of all who were engaged in the effort for man to lift themselves from the bounds of Earth and go to a different object in the Universe.

    Neil Armstrong will always be the first man to set foot on the moon or any other object in space. There was no assurance that it was all going to work and there was no backup to the lunar lander if the rocket motor failed. And the last 20 seconds of the flight were scary to say the least as Armstrong looked for a safe place to land.

    I can still recall vividly where I was when the landing took place.

    Yuri Gagarin was similarly honored by the Soviets for being the first man in space. He was named Hero of the Soviet Union, the nation’s highest honor. And his ashes were buried in the walls of the Kremlin.

    Gagarin was also honored by the American space program during Apollo 11 when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left a memorial satchel containing medals commemorating Gagarin and fellow cosmonaut Vladimir Kemerovo on the surface of the Moon.

    Neil Armstrong is not just an American hero, he is a hero for all mankind. “One small step for(a) man, one giant leap for mankind” and the moon landing will be remembered as long as man still walks this Earth.

  20. So shunt1 if it goes against Neils own wishes you would still go ahead with this plan of yours? And another question …why the hell do you have to make it a bipartisan issue instead of a personal wish of the person who died? Hell why bring up politics at all?

  21. shunt1

    “So shunt1 if it goes against Neils own wishes you would still go ahead with this plan of yours? …why the hell do you have to make it a bipartisan issue …”

    …………..

    Neil Armstrong, AS A SYMBOL INSTEAD OF AS AN INDIVIDUAL, should be honored with our nation’s highest honor. That is why all three Apollo 11 astronauts should receive the exact same honor.

    Gen. Douglas MacArthur did not win the war in the Pacific all by himself. He was honored as a symbol of the American achievements during that war.

    This should be bipartisan and honored by every single person and nation on this Earth.

    But sadly, politics will get involved…

    ….

    I am already seeing comments like this:

    “Obama would hijack the event and make it political. The repubs should organize if this is the family’s wish.”

    P.S:

    The adjective bipartisan can refer to any bill, act, resolution, or other political act in which both of the two major political parties agree about all or many parts of a political choice. Bipartisanship involves trying to find common ground.

  22. So build a statue then. And on the politics question you were the one who brought up your very one side opinion on how you think our president will treat this idea and brought nothing useful to the conversation by doing so.
    And yes I will admit I used the wrong word there. I meant partisan not bi-partisan. not sure why I messed that up.

  23. shunt1

    “…you were the one who brought up your very one side opinion on how you think our president will treat this idea…”

    We will see what happens in the next few days. But as I have already quoted, this will become political.

    Personally, this is way beyond politics (or even family) and how this nation should honor our greatest hero.

  24. Fiery Red Biscuit

    shunti – Way to ruin an utterly awesome gig by dragging politics into it. Please just crawl back under that rock you live under. Please take your nonsensical rants to the political pages and blather about them there, all the while foaming at the mouth, I suspect.

  25. Messier Tidy Upper

    @13. shunt1 :

    On topic and would like to hear what you think about this:
    ……..
    Neil Armstrong: Barack Obama under pressure to grant state funeral.
    … (Snip) …
    Personally, I think that all three Apollo 11 astronauts have earned a state funeral and the nation’s highest form of recognition.

    I think this is actually quite a bit off-topic – but I guess I kinda agree with you here, Shunt1.

    I certainly agree all the Apollo Moon Walkers and CSM pilots who rounded the Moon whilst their companions strode* the lunar regolith deserve to have the offer of State Funerals provided for them. I also think their families have the right to then decline if they so choose. I wouldn’t force Neil Armstrong’s family to go against his wishes or theirs and feel compelled to have a state funeral – but they should be offered one and I think it would be an appropriate and good thing for the nation if one is held.

    Please can we not ruin this with partisan politics and, please, no thread hogging – not that I can talk when it comes to the latter at times I know!

    * Metaphorically speaking anyhow! Hardly the gait they used there! ;-)

  26. Andrei

    @flip – I believe it’s an artifact from the postprocessing as it looks like ringing from a sharpening filter. In fact, if you zoom in at the terminator around the equator you’ll see multiple bright lines (and some fainter lines in the bright part of the image). This is what you get when you apply a bit too much sharpening to images with clearly defined edges.

  27. flip
  28. CR

    Shunt1, nobody else brought up politics/partisanship regarding a state funeral for Armstrong until you did. The very first comment about your suggestion agreed that it was a nice idea, but pointed out how it might fly in the face of what Armstrong himself might have wanted… it doesn’t say anything about being a bad idea because a Republican came up with it! How did you read that into the reply?

    And why did you start the whole notion of a state funeral with the assertion that it was on-topic, but then a few posts down stated that Phil Plait should make it a separate one? (I’m not saying that you nor anyone else can’t change their mind about something, but it seems odd to me that you’d start a topic, make assertions about the motivations of others replying to it, and then tell Phil to move it elsewhere.)

    And before you accuse me of being partisan, please note that I actually AGREE with the idea of offering a state funeral to the Armstrong family. But even if they reject the idea, certainly some sort of national moment of remembrance could be held instead. Nothing political or partisan about it, just a remembrance of Armstrong’s achievement, and a reminder that many, many people worked together to help him (and Aldrin and Collins and the others that followed) make that achievement. (You mentioned something like this yourself, so again I agree.) In short, a reminder of what we can all do if we all work together toward a goal.

    Sorry to all the non-Americans reading this if I seem to be waving the American flag in your faces; that’s not my intent… but I do wish we in the US could be a bit more unified these days instead of sniping at each other over real and imagined issues. (And just as an addendum, Armstrong’s achievement was not only an American achievement, but a HUMAN one. But I’d guess that most readers of this blog already know that…)

    ***********************

    As for the topic of the zoomable moon… wow, that’s fun! Probably as close as I’ll ever get to actually being there. (I wonder if there will be an app that allows viewers to not only zoom in, but zoom AROUND to the far side… now that would be awesome!)

  29. Michael

    I think the “Go Home” button is broken. I clicked it, and I’m still at work. =(

  30. CatMom

    There’s nothing like doing a bit of lunar observing while sitting at my desk during lunch break. What fun!!!! I am soooo bookmarking that link.

  31. Luis Correia

    I’ve made a web app to visualize the moon in detail allowing to zoom in/out and rotate around it.

    Here it is:

    http://www.openprocessing.org/sketch/68120

  32. Wzrd1

    @ Arthur Maruyama, I was actually wondering what our resolution was regarding observations from the surface of the Earth, as in what size surface features could be resolved. As in 800 meters, 1 kilometer, etc. Not if we could manage to visualize the impossibly small landers.

  33. Jess Tauber

    Free the Moon! Join us in the Limbionese Libration Army!

  34. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (21) said:

    Neil Armstrong, AS A SYMBOL INSTEAD OF AS AN INDIVIDUAL, should be honored with our nation’s highest honor. That is why all three Apollo 11 astronauts should receive the exact same honor.

    What, so the man’s own wishes should just be ignored? Is that what you’re saying?

    Also, AFAICT, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins are still alive. They might not want to have a state funeral just yet . . .

  35. shunt1

    As long as mankind is a species of sentience and technology, as long as history is kept and read, the name of Neil A. Armstrong will be known.

    It will be Columbus and Magellan and Armstrong, each leapfrogging the other in the innate human impulse to explore, remembered as long as man remembers.

    Whether man walked out of Africa or was kicked out of Eden, he went where he’d never been, and his descendants did the same until the earth was peopled and the heavens were challenged.

    Some walked across the Bering Strait, others rowed through the nothingness of the south Pacific, or hiked over mountains and swamps and deserts. We conquered this earth and Neil A. Armstrong was the first to conquer beyond.

    And history will wonder at the way we ignored his passing.

    When the names Romney and Obama have moldered into meaninglessness, school children will still learn the name of Armstrong and be inspired by what he did. His will be one of the greatest names of our era, one of the greatest men to ever live.

    This man should have a state funeral.

    This man should lie in state in the Capitol.

    This man should have been afforded something other than the slightest of half-staff honors.

    Yesterday, the president ordered the America flags at federal properties to be flown at half- staff on Friday, the day Neil A. Armstrong is buried.

    That seems like a nice gesture, but it is such a slight gesture as to be insulting.

    Whitney Houston got nearly a week of having the flag at half staff. How does she rate above Neil Armstrong? Neil has accomplished more than she has in an endeavor that meant something. Singing and acting are fluff compared to going to the moon and doing what Neil and the rest of those guys did back then.

    When Obama himself dies, for example, the flag will be lowered for 30 days. The Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House, would get 10 days, and if a member of the president’s cabinet were to die, the period of respect would be from the day of their death until the day of their burial.

    If a member of Congress dies, the flags are lowered the day they die and the day that follows.

    And the first man to walk on the moon gets half that.

    It is an honor, but not really.

    And it is emblematic of the disrespect being shown this hero in his death. He chose to live humbly, we have chosen to bury him ignobly.

    Part of it could be that the one time he spoke up in criticism of a federal policy in all the years since he walked on the moon was just recently, when he harshly criticized the current president for essentially ending America’s manned space flight program.

    Obama gets his revenge, but history will have the last say.

    And history will understand what we cannot.

    Six hundred million people around the world watched this man climb down a ladder on black-and-white television because they understood the significance of what he was doing. They knew they were witnessing history, and they wanted to be a part of it.

    Today, we want no part of it.

    We have lost the spine and the stones necessary to go new places, to solve hard problems and reach great heights. We are more concerned about not interrupting the welfare cheese than we are about being men and truly exploring.

    We have been castrated by a new way of thinking and doing. Neil A. Armstrong rode a rocket of American might, but today’s NASA has specifically denounced any more all-American flights.

    It would be arrogant for America to go to Mars or the Moon alone, NASA has said, so we would only go as part of a coalition.

    Neil A. Armstrong’s coalition was him and Buzz and an army of crew-cut engineers.

    While today’s space exploration consists of landing our seventh rover on the surface of Mars, and politely ignoring the fact that the Spanish weather equipment doesn’t work, the exploration of Armstrong’s era involved creating whole new technologies to go to a whole new place.

    Perhaps we have ignored the passing of Neil A. Armstrong because we cannot live up to the legacy of Neil A. Armstrong. Perhaps looking back at him and his era makes us look weak and useless by comparison.

    You don’t know how puny you are until you stand next to a giant, and Neil A. Armstrong was a giant. For what he did, and for what he represented. And now he is gone.

    And perhaps he took our soul with him. Perhaps it’s been downhill since 1969.

    He will inspire future generations, but mostly he is shaming ours. By reminding us of who we used to be.

  36. shunt1

    BTW, those images are OUTSTANDING for small telescope photography. I know how difficult those images were to obtain.

  37. shunt1

    Shots from the military funeral for the astronauts – Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjw31rldmW0&feature=related

  38. shunt1

    At least Apollo 11 was memorialized in the national capitol as one of our most significant events in American history.

    http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/art/common/image/35_00001.htm

    Some of the blank areas in the north corridor have been filled by later artists. Around 1930, an unknown artist portrayed the Wright Brothers’ airplane and Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis. In 1975, Allyn Cox depicted the moon landing. The most recent addition to the corridor is the scene depicting the Space Shuttle Challenger mission crew, painted by Charles Schmidt in 1987.

    This oval mural commemorating America’s Moon landing embellishes the Brumidi Corridors in the Senate wing of the Capitol. The mural’s three main elements are: the rocket that propelled the astronauts into orbit; astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planting the United States flag on the Moon, with the lunar module Eagle in the background and the space capsule Columbia circling the Moon; and a view of Earth as seen from the Moon.

    Sadly, today the American public is now longer allowed to view this important corridor, as I was able to do prior the the Challenger mission painting in 1987.

  39. CR

    I agree that we as a nation foist too much attention on celebrities, especially troubled ones. I hate that. If an ‘average’ person had similar problems as celebrities do, I suspect that the average person would be in jail, or broke, or dead at a far earlier age (or any combination thereof). I do wish that more attention were given to explorers, to scientists, even to educators who help make a difference, rather than to vapid celebrities who have trouble handling their fame. Same with self-important politicians, I suppose… the ones who actually work to make the country (and by extension, the world) a better place seem overshadowed by ‘celebrity’ politicians who woo the crowds or have the most money to spend on ads & images, rather than working on actions that benefit more than just their own financiers.

    But having said all that, do you really believe that Obama is ‘getting revenge’ against Armstrong for speaking out against policy decisions regarding space exploration? (I have problems with several of Obama’s policy directions, but I’m more appalled at a do-nothing Congress that seems far more interested in partisan politics than I am at any president–past or present–who is unable to affect such pigheadedness.) Since you were the first in these comments to make the discussion political, it seems more like you have a problem with Obama/the Democratic party than with the idea that Armstrong (or more generically, any other explorer/important individual) should get more recognition.

    I guess to put it more simply, why not make the case for such heroes getting better recognition in ANY era, under ANY political administration? Should it matter what political leanings the current leader has, or for that matter should the political leanings of the deceased matter? Why all the Obama-bashing in particular complete with speculation that Obama is seeking ‘revenge’, even though he isn’t violating current US protocol about state funerals? It rather sullies all the rest of your seemingly valid proposal*, a proposal which otherwise might find more support REGARDLESS of readers’ political leanings. (On the other hand, your words also SEEM to imply that no other American besides yourself understands the importance/significance of Armstrong’s achievement, lumping the rest of us into the ‘other’ camp that doesn’t give a damn. I would find that a bit insulting, BUT I’ll try to chalk it up to your passion for the cause, more than as some sort of a superiority complex on your part.)

    *Valid as long as it supports the wishes of Armstrong and his family. I still think that they have the right to have their wishes respected. (We can still learn from history/historical figures even if they have a private funeral. Whether we choose to learn is indeed our choice, not something than can or should be dictated to us. I personally hope that we choose to remember and to learn, choose to go forward because it’s the right thing to do for all of us.)

  40. CR

    You know, I just had another thought: history likely WILL remember Armstrong’s name and his significant, history-changing event along with the long line of other historical figures and their significant events… it likely won’t remember nor care how Armstrong’s funeral went.

    Not judging, just saying…

  41. shunt1

    GOTCHA!

    President Obama arrived in Fort Collins Colorado today.

    I ONLY used my camera, but was able to capture Air Force One just before it landed.

    It was fun using my knowledge of aviation and 20 years of military experience to predict the time and place to obtain this image.

    http://s1064.photobucket.com/albums/u373/shunt01/?action=view&current=AirForceOne.jpg

    I was expecting the 747, but the President was in a Blackhawk helicopter instead. The pilot did a great job of flying NOE and I could not locate the aircraft until he announced:

    “Air Force One, four miles south, landing runway 33.”

    But I did have fun today.

  42. shunt1

    @CR:

    “Since you were the first in these comments to make the discussion political, it seems more like you have a problem with Obama/the Democratic party than with the idea that Armstrong (or more generically, any other explorer/important individual) should get more recognition.”

    On the contrary, President Obama is amazingly predictable.

    I was hoping that people like you, who love the space program and honor our astronauts, would try to do something.

    Instead, you did absolutely nothing and a flag flown at half-mast for 1/2 day is just fine with you.

    Personally, I would be ashamed…

  43. shunt1

    @CR:

    “… it likely won’t remember nor care how Armstrong’s funeral went.”

    Did you watch the video that I provided of Gus Grissom’s (Apollo 1) funeral?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjw31rldmW0&feature=related

    I watched that funeral live when it was happening, and it has stuck with me for the rest of my life. This is how our astronauts should be honored.

    Trying to locate videos of those funerals is rather difficult, but I was able to locate his.

    Sorry, but this was important.

  44. shunt1

    Side note from today’s photograph:

    Listening to the airport crew, and how they had a golf cart ready for the passengers, should have given me a clue they would arrive by helicopter.

    Even I was not dumb enough to be a threat to the President in any way, but since I was texting to other family members at the time, I was expecting to be surrounded by the police at any moment. Kinda scary…

    But I wanted a photo of Air Force One!

    The last time I saw AF1 was in Minnesota, when President Clinton’s 747 flew so low over my location, that the downdraft of the flaps created a wind. So low, that I could see the landing wheels in detail.

    This was just a personal challenge to obtain a photograph of something rather difficult to obtain, and I enjoyed the experience.

  45. flip

    @Shunt1

    You seem to have a lot to say. You do know you can sign up for a blog of your own for free, don’t you?

  46. shunt1

    I said something that had to be told, and I did so on one of the most popular astronomy blogs on the internet.

    Neil Armstrong, I may not have convinced anyone else, but I did everything in my power!

  47. CR

    shunt1: “I said something that had to be told, and I did so on one of the most popular astronomy blogs on the internet.

    Neil Armstrong, I may not have convinced anyone else, but I did everything in my power!”

    Good on you for trying, but you also used so many of those opportunities to politicize the issue and to criticize anyone you viewed as an opponent to your idea (or Sen. Bill Johnson’s idea, I guess), that your desire to honor the deceased seems overshadowed by that criticism. Plus, you assume that I (and by extension, others) did and/or do nothing (at least nothing of value to you?) to honor Armstrong in any way. I admit that I didn’t fight as hard for a state funeral as you by lobbying Congress members, but that’s because I feel that Armstrong and his family’s wishes need to be respected more than our desire to have a public ceremony; obviously, we disagree over that particular caveat.

    For anyone who cares, when I said that history “… likely won’t remember nor care how Armstrong’s funeral went…” I WASN’T trying to say that we SHOULDN’T care. I was taking the long view with the statement; put another way, Armstrong’s accomplishment shall be remembered long after he is gone, rather than whether or not he had a public funeral. As with ANY historical figure who altered the course of human history, it’s their accomplishment(s) in life that shall–and should–have a lasting effect; that seems like a fitting memorial in and of itself, PROVIDED THAT we don’t forget those accomplishments. Keep reminding people of what has come before, so that they can be inspired to try to follow up with their own accomplishments.

    I have and shall continue to remind people about such things at public schools and libraries, via public speaking and both static & interactive displays, in ways that I hope inspire at least a few people (young and old alike) to strive for excellence as those who’ve gone before have done. I suppose occasional blogging like this might count, too, though I can’t accurately judge it’s effect, if it has any at all. Anyway, I know it’s not much, and I will likely be forgotten dust in the great scheme of things (I sometimes feel that I ALREADY am insignificant), but it’s something that I hope might spark someone else to give a damn and try just a little harder to remember history and to build on it to make the world a better place. (And it’s not just scientists and explorers I educate about; I honor veterans in a similar fashion. I guess I’m a person of contrasts.)

  48. CR Says: I admit that I didn’t fight as hard for a state funeral as you by lobbying Congress members, but that’s because I feel that Armstrong and his family’s wishes need to be respected more than our desire to have a public ceremony… Armstrong’s accomplishment shall be remembered long after he is gone, rather than whether or not he had a public funeral. As with ANY historical figure who altered the course of human history, it’s their accomplishment(s) in life that shall–and should–have a lasting effect; that seems like a fitting memorial in and of itself, PROVIDED THAT we don’t forget those accomplishments. Keep reminding people of what has come before, so that they can be inspired to try to follow up with their own accomplishments… Very well said.

  49. CR

    John @ 48
    Thanks. It’s with that notion (the block of my text that you quoted) that I feel perhaps we in the US could–as several others have suggested on other threads in this blog–have a national holiday in honor of Armstrong, not just for his being at the focal point of history, but for his lifetime of hard work tempered with humility. That should certainly be less controversial than some other holidays the US observes.

  50. Matt B.

    I thought it was “Bang! Zoom! Straight to the Moon.” But I admit I’m going more off my memory of Futurama than of The Honeymooners.

  51. shunt1

    CR @ 47:

    Your comments were understood and I have no problem with a national holiday or sending his ashes to the Moon. My concern was that America’s greatest hero be recognized.

    Perhaps I made this discussion more political than it should have been and that is why I was hoping that Phil would make this a separate topic.

    My concern was that a state funeral would have been conducted next week during the Democratic National Conversion and that event may have taken priority over honoring Neil Armstrong.

    So, were you able to watch his funeral on Friday, 31 August 2012?

    Did you get the chance see anything about the event on national TV that was more then 30 seconds in length?

    P.S: I was able to view Air Force One as our President departed Fort Collins Colorado the following day. On his departure, I was surprised to see that the 757 aircraft was used. With the strict secrecy and security, obtaining pictures of Air Force One on departure was a challenge!

    I may not like his socialism, but he is still MY President and will be honored with the respect due to anyone that holds that office.

  52. Randall McKay

    The moon keeps us alive. Its delicate position over the Earth provides enough push and pull to stimulate life upon Earth’s surface, giving rise to all sorts of creatures. We are very lucky to have such a companion, and even more so to have actually walked on it. What other lands and planets will we endevour to explore in the future? What kinds of cities will we build? What kinds of creatures might we meet in the great cosmos? Yes, our time here on Earth is but still primitive in light of how far we have come as a whole species and how far we have still to go.
    Neil Armstrong is important because his courage represents man’s inneffable drive to go forth into the unknown, where on false move, one wrong step might bring life or death. I can imagine a place in the universe where other creatures are doing the same things.
    Until my death, I will remember how amazing it has been to live in this era of man.

  53. CR

    Thanks for the clarification, shunt1 (@51). I think the whole country, if it bothers to watch politics at all, is obsessed with political conventions–RNC, DNC, both sides are busy ‘parading’ and would grab ratings over the honoring of a deceased hero, whether it was last week or this week. Sadly, though, I suspect even more people were too ‘busy’ watching talent contests and voting in those than will bother to vote in the real political elections, let alone watch a ceremony or news report about Armstrong. Anyway, enough about it from me on this thread!

    Cool Air Force 1 & Marine 1 stuff… during the last administration’s tenure, Bush’s helicopter flew right over me as I was driving down a highway, but I had no camera with me to record the event. (I seem to miss photographing things like that, but at least I see them. Never saw a shuttle launch with my own eyes, though, darn it…)

    Randall McKay @ 52… interesting thoughts!

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