Monthly Archives: August 2012

Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong, a quiet self-described nerdy engineer who became a global hero when he made “one giant leap for mankind” with a small step on to the moon, died today at age 82.

Mr. Armstrong died after complications from cardiovascular procedures, according to a statement from his family. The statement did not say where he died. He lived in Cincinnati.

He commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, capping the most daring of the 20th century’s scientific expeditions. His first words after setting foot on the surface are etched in history books and the memories of those who heard them in a live broadcast.

“That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind,” Mr. Armstrong said.

In those first moments on the moon, during the climax of heated space race with the then-Soviet Union, Mr. Armstrong stopped in what he called “a tender moment” and left a patch commemorate NASA astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who had died in action.

“It was special and memorable but it was only instantaneous because there was work to do,” he told an Australian television interviewer in 2012.

Mr. Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, who was known as Buzz, spent nearly three hours walking on the lunar surface, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs.

The moonwalk marked America’s victory in the cold war space race that began Oct. 4, 1957, with the launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, a 184-pound satellite that sent shock waves around the world.

Although he had been a Navy fighter pilot, a test pilot for NASA’s forerunner and an astronaut, Armstrong never allowed himself to be caught up in the celebrity and glamor of the space program.

“I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer,” he said in February 2000 in one of his rare public appearances. “And I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession.”

Neil Armstrong was bigger than life because his bags were packed with our dreams and hopes as he ventured where none had gone before. Thank you Mr Armstrong for making a kid from from a small town in North Carolina believe that anything was possible. You will never be forgotten.

RIP Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong, photo is taken inside the lander after the moonwalk on July 20, 1969 – NASA/Associated Press

Tony Scott

Film director Tony Scott jumped to his death from a bridge in Los Angeles. The 68-year-old, originally from North Shields in England, was best known for action-packed Hollywood blockbusters, including Days Of Thunder and Beverly Hills Cop II.

Scott, younger brother of filmmaker Ridley Scott, leapt from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in LA. Lieutenant Joe Bale, of the county coroner’s office, said the death was being treated as a suicide.

He ran Scott Free Productions with his brother and the pair were working on a film called Killing Lincoln. As well as his movie work, he also produced hit US television shows Numb3rs and The Good Wife.

My heart goes out to his family, friends, colleagues and fans, and saddened that he was driven to take his own life. I hope he is at peace now and beyond all pain and sorrow.

I’ve watched his movies probably more than anyone else’s in the last twenty years. These are my favorites:

Top Gun (1986)
Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
Revenge (1990)
True Romance (1993)
Crimson Tide (1995)
The Fan (1996)
Enemy of the State (1998)
Man on Fire (2004)

RIP Tony Scott

NASA – Curiosity

A newly released photo mosaic from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity reveals the huge robot and its exotic Red Planet landing site in crisp detail.

Curiosity snapped the high-resolution self-portrait with its navigation cameras on the night of Aug. 7, just two days after it touched down inside Mars’ huge Gale Crater. NASA released the image — which is composed of 20 full-frame navcam shots — during a press conference Friday (Aug. 17).

“What’s really exciting about this is that we see the rover — a self-portrait, with the rim of Gale Crater in the background,” said Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger, a geologist at Caltech in Pasadena.

The Newsroom

Here is the teaser trailer for “The Newsroom Season 1: The Weeks ahead”

NASA – Curiosity

This is a behind the scenes look a the tension, anticipation and exhilaration experienced by scientists and engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on August 5, 2012, during the Curiosity rover’s harrowing descent through the Martian atmosphere — known as “Seven Minutes of Terror.”

News of Curiosity’s safe touchdown following the 13-thousand-to-zero-mile-an-hour descent to the Red Planet’s surface brought elation and high-fives all around the world. Curiosity begins a two-year investigation of whether Mars is or ever was capable of supporting microbial life.

This image shows one of the first views from NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the evening of Aug. 5 PDT (early morning hours Aug. 6 EDT). It was taken through a “fisheye” wide-angle lens on one of the rover’s Hazard-Avoidance cameras. These engineering cameras are located at the rover’s base. As planned, the early images are lower resolution. Larger color images are expected later in the week when the rover’s mast, carrying high-resolution cameras, is deployed. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Gabby Douglas – Olympic Gymnast

Gabby Douglas made Olympic history and shattered a color barrier Thursday by becoming the first black gymnast to win the all-around gold medal.

The 16-year-old beat two Russians and teammate Aly Raisman to take the top medal in her sport. Gabby was so overjoyed and overwhelmed by her victory that she didn’t appear to fathom at first that her trail-blazing triumph has done more than simply guarantee her spot on a Wheaties box.

“I kind of forgot about that,” Gabby said, a big grin spreading across her face. “Man, that’s awesome, that’s definitely an amazing feeling. I forgot about that.”

The only other African-American female gymnast to win any individual Olympic medal was Dominique Dawes, who took the bronze for her floor exercise in the 1996 Atlanta games.

“She was one of my inspirations and role models growing up,” Gabby said.

With her stunning performance Thursday, Gabby capped a meteoric and unprecedented rise in a mostly-white sport by becoming the fourth U.S. gymnast to capture the all-around title — joining the ranks of Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin.

Gabby, who was nicknamed “The Flying Squirrel” because of her aerial acrobatics on the uneven bars, also became the first American ever to win the team gold and the all-around gold in the same Olympics.

Congrats Gabby. You are an inspiration to us all

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