Hillary & Armstrong

You’re probably familiar with the iconic photograph of Edmund Hillary standing atop Earth’s highest mountain wearing an oxygen mask in air so thin the sky is almost black as space — but actually, Hillary’s companion Tenzing Norgay didn’t know how to operate the camera, so all the summit photos from 1953’s first successful ascent of Mount Everest were of Norgay by Hillary! You’re probably also familiar with the iconic photograph of Neil Armstrong standing on the surface of the airless Moon in a pressure suit — but actually, Armstrong carried the still camera for nearly the entire EVA (or Extra-Vehicular Activity), so almost all the still photography from 1969’s Apollo 11 moonwalk is by Armstrong of his companion Buzz Aldrin!

Iconic photos: Tenzing Norgay on Everest, 1953 May 29, and Buzz Aldrin on Moon, 1969 July 20. Photo credits: Edmund Hlllary and Neil Armstrong.

Iconic photos: Tenzing Norgay on Everest, 1953 May 29, and Buzz Aldrin on Moon, 1969 July 20. Photo credits: Edmund Hlllary and Neil Armstrong.

Hillary and Armstrong became friends later in life and even travelled together. In 1985, the pair flew from arctic Canada to the North Pole leaving the memorable logbook page reproduced below.

Page from a logbook at an arctic inn where Hillary and Armstrong stayed during their July 1985 North Pole trip. Presumably the exclamation points were added later. Credit: Stephen Braham

Page from a logbook at an arctic inn where Hillary and Armstrong stayed during their July 1985 North Pole trip. Presumably the exclamation points were added later. Credit: Stephen Braham

About John F. Lindner

John F. Lindner was born in Sleepy Hollow New York and educated at the University of Vermont and Caltech. He is a professor of physics and astronomy at The College of Wooster. He has enjoyed multiple yearlong sabbaticals at Georgia Tech, University of Portland, and University of Hawai'i. His research interests include nonlinear dynamics, celestial mechanics, and variable stars.
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