It was saddening to hear of the death of Neil Armstrong on Saturday, at 82 and following complications after heart surgery. He was a genuine hero – unassuming, quiet, never seeking the limelight – yet he was the one who piloted the Apollo 11 Lunar Module to a safe landing on the Moon on 20th July 1969, with a sensor telling the astronauts they were low on fuel and in conditions where an error could easily have led to certain death.
Later this century, when much of the Moon will have probably become a vast industrial park, I think at least one acre or so of regolith should be kept as it was when the Eagle landed there on that long-ago July day, as a memorial to Armstrong and the other Apollo astronauts. It ought to be on every serious visitor’s itinerary when they touch down on Luna, perhaps on their way to far more remote destinations.
Neil Armstrong was the first human to set foot on another world. He was thus – and will be, forever – unique. RIP.