by Eowyn Langholf
Today’s AJ Cousin Connection is Neil Armstrong, astronaut and first man to walk on the moon!

Born August 5, 1930,  in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Neil died two years ago today, August 25 at the age of 82. 

Some fun facts about Neil:

1. In high school, Neil took up the baritone horn (kind of a cross between the trumpet and trombone).  He liked the instrument’s distinctive tone. He performed not only in his school orchestra but was also in a combo, the Mississippi Moonshiners

2. On his NASA application, Armstrong marked “no religious preference”.  According to Hansen’s book, however, Armstrong actually considered himself a deist, a person whose faith in God is based on reason rather than religious revelation or the teachings of a particular church. Thomas Jefferson was also a deist.

3. What Neil said on the moon is different than what the world thought it heard.  What he actually said was “One small step for a man,” which makes a lot more sense. In 2006, an Australian researcher analyzed the recording and discovered that due to limitations of communication technology at the time, a few milliseconds of what the astronaut said had been dropped.

4. When he was 10 years old, Neil was paid $1 to mow the cemetery in Wapakoneta, Ohio, the small town where he was born. One of many odd jobs Armstrong had around town, he eventually earned enough money to pay for $9-per-hour flying lessons.  Neil loved flying so much he had a pilot’s license before his driver’s license!

5.  Neil was a test pilot. He could fly over 200 different types of aircraft from the dangerous rocket plane the X-15—which could reach a top speed of 4,000 miles per hour (!!!)—to gliders, which he called sailplanes.

“I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer, born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace and propelled by compressible flow.”- Neil Armstrong


Neil Armstrong and A.J. Jacobs have 32 degrees of separation. Here’s what that looks like:

Chart courtesy of WikiTree



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