Once again the passing of a public figure important enough in the formation of who I am overcomes my reticence to jump on the blogosphere obituary bandwagon.
Along with much of the world, seven-year-old Kent sat mesmerized in front of the TV to see mankind's first steps on another world on the evening of Sunday, 20 July 1969. At that moment, like millions of other kids of my generation, I conceived a deep interest in science, astronomy, and the like. Like millions of other kids, I wanted to grow up to be an astronaut. That didn't happen. I didn't even become a scientist -- although I was an engineer for a time, and did try to join the Air Force as an engineer (severe myopia shot that down). Star Trek had, sadly and ironically, aired its last new episode only six or seven weeks before (3 June), but by the next year I discovered it in early syndication and that conception was nurtured to manifest itself in my life-long love of science fiction and fantastic fiction in general. Had I not been primed for it by the sense of wonder inspired by Neil Armstrong's first steps onto the moon, however, no one can say what course my life would have taken.
To play off the words spoken from Tranquility Base six or so hours before those steps, "The Eagle has ascended."
Ad Astra! As Jerry Pournelle states in his blog entry of last night, "We will be back."