That Letter Will Go On Your Permanent Record
December 5, 2014 9:17 AM   Subscribe

If you ever wrote a letter to Neil Armstrong it's probably now archived at Purdue University. The first man on the moon saved over 70,000 pieces of personal correspondence, and that probably includes that letter you wrote in late July 1969 when you were in the 2nd grade.
posted by COD (9 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Any letters from Mr. Gorsky?
posted by chavenet at 9:23 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Nice. And this was a guy whose words are probably worth preserving:
(From a speech to the National Press Club) — "A century hence, 2000 may be viewed as quite a primitive period in human history. It’s something to hope for. … I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow. As an engineer, I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession."

"Science has not yet mastered prophecy. We predict too much for the next year and yet far too little for the next 10."

"It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small."

(On being the first man to take a step on the moon) — "Pilots take no special joy in walking; pilots like flying."
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:42 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I gave up on NASA when Frank Borman cancelled his appearance at my elementary school.

He promised.
posted by BWA at 9:56 AM on December 5, 2014

I am 10 years and 203 days old. … I would like to have you as a guest at my house for a weekend. If you can come, please notify me of the time you can. If you do come, please bring notes, records, exhibits and other papers about science. …
Your admirer,
Brad Brassfield, Rockford, Illinois

These are great and I love the internet.
posted by marxchivist at 10:11 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dear Mr. Armstrong,

My name is droplet, and I just wanted to say how brave I think you were in going to the moon in that tin can of fire...

Wait, I didn't write anything!

I was only 15 days old when they landed!

posted by droplet at 11:28 AM on December 5, 2014

In July, 1969, it was summer vacation. I did not start 2nd grade until September. I thought I wrote a letter to Neil Armstrong, but I think my dad "forgot" to mail it.
posted by briank at 11:33 AM on December 5, 2014

“Neil Armstrong, College Professor” (At the University of Cincinnati, not Purdue.)
posted by LeLiLo at 11:47 AM on December 5, 2014

Is it wrong that my first thought was "only 70,000"? Or just a bit cynical, I suppose. But in my imagination the event was significantly more awe-inspiring in 1969, as opposed to today where launches barely get any media coverage at all. I would have thought there would have been more mail. (But I think it's awesome that he saved all of the ones that he did).
posted by vignettist at 3:55 PM on December 5, 2014

People are lazy. Probably 10x that amount were going to get around to sending him a letter soon.
posted by mantecol at 7:59 PM on December 6, 2014

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