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Neil Armstrong Quotes

The Top Ten Phrases From the First Man on the Moon


Neil Armstrong is unequivocally an American hero. His bravery and skill earned him the honor of the first human to ever set foot on the Moon. As a result Neil Armstrong has been looked to for insight into the human condition as well as commentary on the state of technology and space exploration. Here we look at the top ten Neil Armstrong quotes, to see how he has influenced our nation and world.

1. That's One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind.

Astronaut footprint on the moon
Stocktrek/ Stockbyte/ Getty Images

His most famous quote is one that actually doesn't quite make sense since Man and Mankind have the same meaning. Neil Armstrong actually meant to say "... one small step for a man..." referring to himself setting foot on the Moon and this event having deep implications for mankind. The astronaut himself has mused that he hopes that the annuls of history would analyze his words for what he meant to say.

2. Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

The words uttered by Neil Armstrong when the apollo craft landed on the surface of the Moon.

3. I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats...

The full quote is "I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats and I don't intend to waste any of mine." Some report that the phrase "running around doing exercises." though it is unclear if he actually said this.

4. We came in peace for all mankind.

In an expression of mankind's higher moral hope, Neil Armstrong stated "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon. July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind."

5. I put up my thumb and it blotted out the Earth

I can only imagine the view from the Moon. We become so accustomed to our view of the heavens, but to turn and see the Earth in all its blue glory; it must be a sight to see. This idea came to a head when Neil Armstrong found that he could hold up his thumb and completely block the view of Earth.

6. I think we're going to the Moon because it's in the nature of the human being...

"I think we're going to the Moon because it's in the nature of the human being to face challenges. We're required to do these things just as salmon swim up stream."

7. I was elated, ecstatic and extremely surprised that we were successful.

The complexity of traveling to the Moon is immense even by today's technology. But remember that the computing power available to the Apollo module was less than what you now have in your scientific calculator. The technology in your cell phone simply puts it to shame. In that context, I too am surprised that we were successful. An amazing achievement.

8. It's a brilliant surface in that sunlight.

"It's a brilliant surface in that sunlight. The horizon seems quite close to you because the curvature is so much more pronounced than here on earth. It's an interesting place to be. I recommend it." The Moon is an amazing place. The surface is unlike anything on Earth, and with the absence of an atmosphere the experience is simply mind boggling (or so I imagine).

9. Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand.

Man was given an inquisitive nature, and that manifests itself in our desire to take that next step, to seek out the next great adventure. Going to the Moon wasn't really a question, it was the next step in the evolution of our knowledge, of our understanding. It was necessary to explore the limits of our technology and set the stage for what mankind could achieve in the future.

10. I fully expected that... we would have achieved substantially more...

"I fully expected that, by the end of the century, we would have achieved substantially more than we actually did." Apollo was looked upon at the time to be a starting point. It was proved that Man could achieve what many considered impossible, and we set our sights on greatness. Everyone fully expected that we would soon be off to Mars. The colonization was a near certainty, probably by the end of the century. Yet more than 40 years later, little of what was expected has been achieved. Yes, we have moved forward in other areas, computing being one example. But manned space exploration has proceeded at a much slower pace than expected.

11. Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky!

I'm including this bonus quote just to set the record straight. Neil Armstrong was rumored to have said this immediately following his famous <em>small step for man</em> quote. However, it was merely part of a humorous joke and he never actually said it, even though it is widely attributed to him.

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