Moon walker turns 80

Armstrong seen in the reflection on Aldrin's visorThe first moon walker, Neil Armstrong, who spends most of his days near sea level, turns 80 on Thursday.

{jathumbnail off}He is a hero to a generation of school children who grew up with the race agaisnt the Soviets to the moon in the 1960s.

Armstrong, a U.S. Navy test pilot, was the first human to walk on the moon 41 years ago, July 20, 1969. It was a round trip of more than 440,000 miles.

"One small step for a man," he said as his feet touched the dusty lunar surface. "one giant leap for mankind."

A number of news outlets mark his 80th birthday with articles, But most don't include quotes from Armstrong for the occasion. He shunned publicity from the moon walk during most of his career.

Fellow astronaut Aldrin and Armstrong left footprints and 2-foot wide panel of mirrors pointing at Earth, after 35 years, it's still running and in use.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the historic walk, the London Daily Mail posted a photo the online newspaper claimed to a never-before-seen photo. The photo shows Armstrong's face as he walks on the lunar surface.

Armstrong along with Aldrin and Michael Collins crewed Apollo 11. Aldrin was the second human to set foot on the moon. Collins never made it to the moon.

Apollo 11 was also Armstrong's last flight. His first was Gemini 8.

He left NASA and served as a professor of aerospace at the University of Cincinnati. After seven years, he left the university.

Because of his engineering background, the former astronaut served on the boards of high tech companies - General Electric, Marathon Oil, LearJet, Cincinnati Gas & Electric, Eaton, Morton Thiokol and United Airlines.

Earlier this year, he made a rare public criticism of the decision to cancel the Ares 1 launch vehicle and the Constellation moon landing program.

The public letter was also signed by Apollo veterans Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan.