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Tucson Perspective: The legacy that Neil Armstrong leaves behind

Astronomer and science writer David Levy

Tucson Perspective: The legacy that Neil Armstrong leaves behind

CREATED Aug 25, 2012

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Many of us remember the exact moment when history is made -- especially when it's closely connected to our lives.

For well known astronomer and science writer, David Levy, Neil Armstrong's moonwalk is a  moment indelibly imprinted on his mind. He was in his 20's -- teaching kids during summer camp -- when Armstrong walked on the moon. "And we're all sitting in little chairs in the auditorium watching a little black and white TV. We all listened to Armstrong's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. And I never forget that I saw it with children at a summer camp. And it was such an amazing thing," said Levy.

But there was something that impressed Levy even more than that moment on the moon. "This man was a true explorer. Someone who really was in the space business not for the publicity, but because he loved it. He loved the adventure and he loved the exploration. And I will remember him more for that than anything else," he said.

Those sentiments are shared by Michael Magee, Technical director of the UofA's Flandrau Science Center and  Planetarium. "His whole life as a little kid through adult life was devoted to learning, science, exploration and not being afraid to try anything that's worth trying," said Magee.

Magee says that passion led to a mission that continued to build on his legacy. "He would advocate an behalf of scientists with the government to help keep NASA properly funded for space exploration so it's a big loss on several fronts," he said.

But Levy believes that Armstrong has left generations of people who will pick up where he left off "and will try to keep America flying in space. We don't send people in space because they're more efficient than machines. We send them into space because of the passion because of our will to explore. The United States is an exploring nation. It's in our blood," said Levy.

Armstrong's connections to the University of Arizona date back to the 1950's and 60's.  He and the other astronauts used the University's research on possible landing sites for the Apollo missions.