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
Neil Armstrong Dead at 82
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." (Read more Neil Armstrong stories.)

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