I’m leaving Libertarianism aside today, to show you what I regard as the greatest YouTube clip I’ve ever seen.
Astronaut Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission and the first man to walk on the moon, testified before a hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on 22 September 2011; the YouTube clip is a capture of the web stream broadcast. I was alerted to it by this story in today’s News Limited’s technology page.
I was six years old (and obsessed with the Apollo 11 mission) when Armstrong and co-pilot Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the surface of the moon. Forty-two years later, to listen to this elderly gentleman as he puts us in the driver’s seat of the lunar landing module, and watch as we join him on his final, white-knuckle descent to the surface using Google Moon, with fuel running low and desperately searching for a smooth landing place, is something I intend to relive many times over. I’m proud that my own country played a pivotal rôle in relaying mission communications, including the famous television pictures of Armstrong descending the ladder to the surface.
A much better visual quality YouTube of the Google Moon reconstruction:
For my money, though, the overlay of Armstrong’s own narration makes the clip at the top a must-see. When the lunar landing module touches the surface, and we hear the tape of Armstrong’s words, “Tranquility Base here – the Eagle has landed”, you can hear the assembled congressmen out of camera shot burst into spontaneous applause and cheers. After all this time. Incredible.
You can also see a much more relaxed Armstrong speaking with CPA Australia president Alex Halley about those days, with the same higher-quality visuals here.
Truly, the right stuff.
Update 26 Aug 2012 0930: Vale Neil Armstrong, who passed away yesterday following complications from recent heart surgery. He was 82.
The link above has this photo, which I’ve never seen before, taken of the Apollo 11 crew’s visit to Sydney in 1969, as part of their 24-nation “Giant Leap” tour. I’m in the crowd—so this picture is like gold to me:
Via WUWT, a poem that could serve as a fitting epitaph:
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
– Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee, No 412 squadron, RCAF, Killed 11 December 1941
A moment in time to savour.