“The Final Impossibility: Man’s Tracks on the Moon (Two Men on the Moon),” 1969, Norman Rockwell (1894-1978). Story illustration for “Look,” December 30, 1969. Collection of the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections. © Norman Rockwell Family Agency.

Norman Rockwell Museum is saddened to hear about the loss of astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930-2012), who died this past Saturday. As commander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, Armstrong made history on July 20, 1969, as the first human to set foot on the moon.“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” he radioed back to those spellbound on earth.

In August of  that same year, artist Norman Rockwell was invited to the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, to do research and take photos for a commissioned illustration of the historic event. His painting, The Final Impossibility: Man’s Tracks on the Moon, shows Armstrong standing on the moon’s surface and co-pilot Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr. descending from the lunar module “Eagle.” The original oil on canvas painting is now in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and currently on view in Norman Rockwell Museum’s traveling exhibition, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera.

Related Links:

Neil Armstrong, First Man on Moon, Dies at 82,” The New York Times, August 25, 2012

“Neil Armstrong: Private Man, Public Hero,” Life Magazine photo album