Neil Armstrong Dead at 82
Astronaut was first man to walk on the moon
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2012 2:36 PM CDT
In this Monday, Feb. 20, 2012 photo, Apollo 11 Astronaut Neil Armstrong at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.   (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)

(Newser) – Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon and possibly the most famous astronaut in history, died today at age 82, NBC News reports. He had undergone heart surgery just a few weeks ago. Armstrong led the Apollo 11 team that reached the moon on July 20, 1969, and famously told NASA mission control he was making "one giant leap for mankind." He then stepped on the lunar surface and walked around for about two hours with astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, ABC News reports.

Born in small-town Ohio in 1930, Armstrong received an engineering degree from Purdue University and flew 78 missions in the Korean War. In the 1960s he rose through the ranks at NASA to Apollo astronaut, and by chance flew on the famous lunar landing mission. But he shunned the spotlight and appeared rarely at public events to mark Apollo 11 anniversaries or promote space exploration. "There are great ideas undiscovered, breakthroughs available to those who can remove one of truth's protective layers," he once said. "There are places to go beyond belief."

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Aug 25, 2012 9:02 PM CDT
Neil Armstrong was part of the second wave of astronauts right after the original Mercury seven. All men and women in the astronaut program are true American heroes. Armstrong was one of the best. We've only a few of the old timers left... M. Scott Carpenter, Buzz Aldrin. Heroes all!
Aug 25, 2012 5:39 PM CDT
So he died as an old fart. Yuri Gagarin died in a plane crash. Much better way to go for a hero imo.
Aug 25, 2012 5:26 PM CDT
These guys landed on the surface of the moon and returned home safely with less on-board computing power than is in your smartphone. That took a lot of guts and was an absolutely amazing accomplishment.