As NASA celebrates its 60th anniversary, Neil Armstrong’s son wants to see the agency to ramp up its efforts as a space pioneer.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the incredible Apollo 11 mission, when Neil Armstrong was immortalized as the first man on the Moon. The historic feat was achieved just 10 years after NASA’s creation.
“I think we've progressed more slowly than we had hoped, and certainly than everyone I think had hoped in 1969,” Mark Armstrong told Fox News during a press event for the movie “First Man” at Kennedy Space Center. “It's my hope that we get back to pushing our boundaries. I think that's good not just for the technology that's derived from it but also for our psyche, our collective soul - it's good for us to push.”
Mark and his brother Rick both have cameos in “First Man” – the eagerly-anticipated Neil Armstrong biopic. “There's not much that inspires kids like the space program - so that's incredibly valuable to have that,” Rick told Fox News at Kennedy Space Center. “It does feel like there's a sort of groundswell of interest that has been coming back in the last five, ten years so I'm optimistic that that's going to continue and we'll see not only the direct benefits but the indirect benefits, all the spin-offs that come improve our world that come out of space flight."
Actor Ryan Gosling, who portrays Neil Armstrong in the movie, says that he appreciates the insight into the space program that “First Man” has given him. "For myself, personally, just in coming here and meeting the people that work here and seeing what they're working on, there's a perspective that comes from space exploration that they seem to have and they seem very passionate about sharing,” he told Fox News. “Oftentimes we hear astronauts talk about the Apollo missions, they say … we went to explore the Moon but we ended up discovering the Earth."
Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins blasted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A atop a massive Saturn V rocket on July 16, 1969. The lunar module containing Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the Moon four days later.
Actress Claire Foy, who plays Armstrong’s wife Janet in “First Man,” told Fox News that the movie has increased her interest in space. In particular, the actress enjoys watching the crew of the International Space Station online. “I think to see that it becomes something that people can continue to be interested in and watch … I think they've always been the forefront of innovating and pushing boundaries and thank god for people like that because it makes the world a much more exciting place,” she told Fox News.
As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, NASA is honoring the incredible achievements and sacrifices made by the men and women involved in America’s space program. “As we celebrate NASA’s first 60 years of achievement, we honor the sacrifice that came with it: the tragic loss of lives including aviation pilots and the crewmembers of Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia,” the agency said, in a statement released Monday.
Bonnie White, whose father Astronaut Ed White died in the tragic Apollo 1 fire on Jan. 27, 1967, is confident that America has a big space future. "I think things are going well,” she told Fox News, noting the record number of applicants to become NASA astronauts. “So there's huge interest and I do think now with SpaceX and the other companies getting involved, you know, there's going to be some good collaborating and some things, who knows, we might be at Mars or wherever."
White is also involved with the Astronaut Memorial Foundation, which is based at Kennedy Space Center and pays tribute to fallen astronauts.
“First Man” screenwriter Josh Singer told Fox News that it’s important for future generations to remember epic missions such as Apollo 11. “Clearly getting to the Moon was a great American achievement - it was also a great human achievement,” he said. “I hope there are new adventures that we embark upon as a nation and as a civilization in space.”
Fox News’ James Rogers contributed to this article.