By now the news of Neil Armstrong’s death is a few days old, but while we all mourn the passing of a great man, we should take the opportunity to remember that only 66 years after the Wright brothers’ first historic flight we put a man on the moon. What have we done in the 43 years since?

The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there’s no good reason to go into space–each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision.

We are capable of so much, but lately we seem to have lost our way. Let the passing of a great man (as well as the recent triumph of Curiosity on Mars and the 35th anniversary of Voyager 1 and 2) remind us of our potential. This would be a fitting legacy for the first man to ever step onto another world.

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