SHORTLY before Neil Armstrong stepped out of obscurity and on to the Sea of Tranquillity, he was asked why humans were planning to go to the moon. "I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges," Armstrong replied, in arguably the second-most famous words he ever uttered. "It’s in the nature of his deep inner soul. We’re required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream."
It was one of his attractions that he never milked his historic step for personal or chauvinistic applause either. Armstrong never became a celebrity, although he was infinitely more famous than most of those who traded on their own lesser fame in later decades.
He grasped from first to last that he was part of a huge team, that it was his strange destiny to be the one whose name went down in history, and was content with that. London, August 27