October 18, 2018 9:09 pm

Step into the First Man’s Shoes as We Celebrate the Legacy of Neil Armstrong

It’s dark, loud, and cramped. An underlying feeling of “this is not safe” washes over you as you watch Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling) attempt something daring. This feeling never goes away throughout the entire viewing of First Man. Whether he’s in an X-15 pushing the altitude limit, in a capsule above the Earth testing docking mechanics, or descending to the surface of the Moon, we are right there with him – and he’s as cool as ice.

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with comic co-host Chuck Nice and former astronaut and StarTalk All-Stars host Mike Massimino to celebrate the life of Neil Armstrong. As you’ll hear on this episode, even though he was quiet and weary of the limelight, everyone agreed he was the right person to first step onto the Moon.

Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Neil Armstrong taken on July 20, 2009 at the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 at the National Air and Space Museum. © Tyson Archives.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Neil Armstrong at the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 at the National Air and Space Museum, July 20, 2009. © Tyson Archives.

A man who very rarely gave interviews, Armstrong talked to Tyson during the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 that Tyson hosted at The National Air and Space Museum in 2009. Although Neil’s chat with Armstrong was brief, we’re pretty sure you’re going to love it as much as we do. Neil also checked in with Gene Kranz, the legendary Flight Director of the Apollo and Gemini missions, to get a feel for what it was like on the ground during this historic time.

Fresh off a screening of First Man, Neil and Mike tell us what they thought about the film and how it portrayed Armstrong compared to real life. They also share their experiences meeting Armstrong: Mike while he was in astronaut training, and Neil, on a cruise to Africa to observe a total solar eclipse when he was only 14 years old. You’ll also hear how Armstrong’s first words on the Moon influenced Mike when he sent the first tweet from space.

Next, we explore why the Moon landing was so stressful for the people on the ground. Gene, the man famous for the phrase, “Failure is not an option,” explains what his job was as a Flight Director. And Mike, a veteran of two space shuttle flights, sheds light on the honesty that comes when discussing real life chances of having successful missions.

If you get a chance to see First Man, I’d recommend it on the biggest screen possible. The movie offers an insight into what astronauts experienced during these risky missions. The sequences from inside the capsule during launch are especially magical. First Man provides a calculated, yet human look at the most daring adventure in human history.

Please join us tomorrow night for First Man – Celebrating Neil Armstrong at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen

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