On this day in 1969, Astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first person to ever set foot on the moon.

Armstrong was the commander of Apollo 11, where he was joined by Buzz Aldrin and command module pilot Michael Collins. Armstrong was 38 at the time.

Apollo 11 landed on the surface of the moon at 8:17 pm on July 20, 1969 - less than a minute before they would have run out of fuel.

After taking time to test the lunar surface for safety, Armstrong took man's first step on the moon - with 600 million people watching on live television back on Earth.

As his foot first made contact with the moon, Armstrong uttered the historic quote: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

(What he meant to say was that's one small step for a man, but the article was not heard in the recording. When Armstrong saw the transcript, he said he felt that he was misquoted. Without the article, the quote is something of a contradiction, but that has not compromised its historical significance.)

In a 2005 interview, Armstrong described the moon as an interesting place to be. I recommend it.

According to an account in Armstrong's official biography - First Man -  he was chosen to be the first crewmember to step on the moon, in part because NASA didn't consider him to  have a big ego.  But in a 60 Minutes interview in 2005, Armstrong insisted that is was purely circumstantial.

That wasn't planned by anyone, he said.

Armstrong is notoriously protective of his name and image. He stopped signing autographs in 1994, after learning that they were being sold for large amount of money.  He declined MTV's request to use his historical quote to accompany their logo in 1981 (the footage itself is public domain). And in 1995, after learning that his longtime barber had sold his hair for $3,000, Armstrong demanded the barber donate the same amount to charity.

After Apollo 11's historic mission, Armstrong taught engineering at the University of Cincinatti for eight years. He has been able to retire on income he made by serving a numerous corporate boards.

Although he was courted by both the Republican and Democratic parties to run for political office, he declined.

Armstrong maintains an enthusiastic interest in the space program - he testified at 2010's House Science and Technology committee hearing on Review of the Proposed NASA Human Space Flight Plan,  and has indicated his regret that it has not gone as far as he might have imagined when he was a young astronaut.

Still, if a manned mission to Mars takes place in his lifetime, Armstrong would like to be considered - although he feels that he has had more than his fair share of time in the spotlight.

I guess we all like to be recognized not for one piece of fireworks, Armstrong once said, but for the ledger of our daily work.