By a Newsnet reporter
Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, has died at the age of 82.
Armstrong created history in 1969 when, stepping on to the lunar surface, he uttered the immortal phrase: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures,” Armstrong’s family said in a statement.
“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves,” his family added.
“For those who may ask what they can do to honour Neil, we have a simple request. Honour his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
With fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, Armstrong took the 250,000 mile four day trip from earth to the surface of the moon.
Watched by a captivated audience around the globe the grainy images from the Apollo 11 mission ensured the three men went down in history and saw the USA win the ‘space race’ to the moon.
A quiet man, Armstrong avoided the limelight refusing to cash in on his unique fame. Asked about the famous moment, he once said: “Looking back, we were really very privileged to live in that thin slice of history where we changed how man looks at himself and what he might become and where he might go,”
The remarkable legacy left behind by Armstrong and his brave colleagues, some who perished as they endeavoured to advance humankind’s knowledge beyond earth’s atmosphere, can be seen today with NASA’s Curiosity mission to Mars.
Apollo ran from 1961 to 1972. In all, six Apollo missions landed successfully on the moon and saw twelve astronauts walk on the lunar surface.