Tag Archives: Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong buried at sea

I had no idea. Shows what happens when you ignore most of the media most of the time. The first moonwalker, who performed that feat in July 1969 when I was rather preoccupied on patrol in Vietnam, died at 82 in August.

I knew that part. I didn’t know he was cremated and his “ashes” and “dust” were buried at sea in the Atlantic somewhere off Florida. Probably directly east of the launch pad, though it doesn’t say.

Meanwhile, a day or so after the retired Endeavor space shuttle flew by McGregor, Texas, on its 747 carrier, Space X tested its Grasshopper, a vertical landing space vehicle, there. For now, it’s the first stage of X’s Falcon 9 powered by a Merlin engine—and the classic scifi image of the landing space rocket. If they ever do succeed at making that routine, we’ll know our space future is on the way.

First word from the moon: Houston

While Times Online claims Neil Armstrong’s planned utterance ("One small step…" etc.) was ungrammatical–and sci fi writer Arthur C. Clarke (writing in 1986) agreed–until an Australian computer expert recently uncovered the missing article. Well, every Texas schoolboy knows the REALLY important matter was the First Word from the lunar surface, not those planned-in-advance words.

That first word? "Houston," as in Armstrong reporting the landing by saying "Houston, Tranquillity base here…" etc. I used to have a colorful poster of an orbiting city made up by the Houston chamber of commerce crowing about it. As a paid scribe, I even once examined the official transcript to confirm it.

Comes Wikipedia claiming the first words were those of Buzz Aldrin: "The first words spoken from the surface were Aldrin’s, who reported ‘Contact Light’ as the Eagle’s landing probe touched the moon."

Harrumph. This is why, as we so often hear, Wikipedia’s encyclopedic veracity is questionable at best.