My Neil Armstrong Story by Mike Constantine

Interacting with the First Man on the Moon

With a lot of interest in Neil Armstrong at the moment and the mention that Neil’s trip over to Little West Crater features in the First Man movie, I thought I’d share my Neil Armstrong Story:

Back in 2005 I mailed one of my Moonpans panoramic prints of Little West Crater to Neil Armstrong’s address in Ohio. A few weeks later I was at my computer, when an email popped up from a ‘N A Armstrong’. At first I thought it was some kind of joke, but it had a subject line of ‘Your Letter’. As nobody else knew I had sent Neil the print just a few weeks before, I realised this must be a genuine reply.

The email thanked me for the print and commented that, “Somehow it doesn't look as big as I remembered it. Nevertheless, it was a worthwhile deviation. Thanks and best wishes. Neil Armstrong”

Holy crap I just got an email from Neil Armstrong! So after picking myself up from the floor I was faced with the overwhelming temptation to reply to the email. But how to address the first man on the moon? Dear Sir? Commander Armstrong? Your Majesty? In the end I just went for Dear Neil.

So I thanked him for the email and continued a short conversation about little West Crater, and asked what was that white stick in the foreground of the pan? A few days passed, and I began to think the email had been a one-off, but no, once again another email arrived in my inbox. Neil went into more detail about his estimate of the size of Little West Crater, “My recollection is that it appeared 60-90 feet across and about 15 feet deep.“ And also let me know that the white stick was the control handle of the camera for taking close up stereo photos of the lunar surface.

Over time, Neil kindly answered several other questions for me. Could a Gemini have flown to the Moon? Did the Weight of the Moon Rocks affect Lunar Lift-off? etc. And then one day an 8 year old relative of mine was studying the Moonlandings at school, so I told her, if she thought of a question, I would forward it to Neil Armstrong, and if he replied she could hand it in as part of her homework assignment.

So she asked what did Neil want to be when he was a child. Once again Neil kindly replied that from age 11 he wanted to be was an airplane designer. I forwarded the answer to my relative, thinking she will get top marks for having included an actual personal response from the First Man On The Moon, Neil Armstrong in her assignment. A few weeks later I asked the relative what mark they had got, and was rather deflated when she replied that she never actually handed in the assignment!

Anyway it was great to be able to chat to one of the greatest men ever to walk the Earth (and the Moon) who I am sure had much better things to be doing with his time, (although he did seem very happy talking about the technical aspects of the mission) What a great guy, I feel very lucky and cant wait to see the movie.

Little West Crater
The panorama of Little West Crater that I sent to Neil Armstrong - click for larger version

Thanks - Mike Constantine

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