Neil Armstrong /

That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind

Ohio-born Neil Armstrong might well prove to be the only person of our era who is still famous in ten thousand years’ time. His claim to fame is simple but awe-inspiring: on 16th July 1969, he became the first man to walk on the surface of the Moon.

Neil always loved to fly. His dad took him on his first plane ride when he was just six years old. Like many children, he loved model planes. He learnt to fly a plane before he learnt to drive a car and was soon flying them for the Navy, including during the Korean War.

By the Sixties, he was taking part in a number of early space missions. In 1961, President Kennedy declared the US “should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

In 1969, with the decade almost over, Armstrong was appointed commander of the Apollo 11 mission which also included Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins to land on the Moon.

Afterwards, Armstrong remained modest about his achievements. Asked about his footprints which could remain imprinted on the windless Moon for centuries, he said only: "I kind of hope that somebody goes up there one of these days and cleans them up."

Neil Armstrong remains only one of twelve people to have ever walked on the Moon.

And he will always be the first.