Neil Armstrong, as well as his fellow astronauts on the Apollo 11 moon landing were chosen for the steadiness under pressure. Nevertheless, landing on the surface of the moon, walking around on it, then taking back off again to link up with an orbiting spacecraft apparently gets the heart pumping even among the coolest cats.

An Atlantic article from 2019, the 50th anniversary of the landing, describes how Mission Control started monitoring the astronauts’ heart rates, partially because everyone in Houston was feeling their hearts beat out of their chests. The article gets into the moments that caused the most stress for Armstrong, allowing for a moment of shared humanity with a man who often seems like a person far removed from the rest of us.

“All three men had already launched to space before. NASA put them through extremely rigorous training, including tumbling through a faint-inducing simulator until their bodies learned to not pass out. “Whereas you and I would say, ‘Oh my god, I’m on top of a 300-foot-tall rocket full of liquid hydrogen that could blow us sky-high,’ for them, it’s like, ‘I’m going to work,’” says John Charles, a retired NASA scientist who worked with astronauts and monitored their health.”

Today is of course, the 53rd anniversary of the moon landing. Still humanity’s greatest adventure.

Read the article, right here.

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