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Legendary NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong believed in alien life, his son has revealed.
Mark Armstrong, a Silicon Valley software engineer, was just six-years-old when his dad changed the course of history with his "giant leap for mankind."
It was during the summer of 1969, and the Armstrong clan went to Florida for the launch at Cape Canaveral and back to to their Houston home to watch the rest of the mission and the all important touchdown on July 20.
First man on the Moon Armstrong died in 2012.
Were he alive today he would be marking his 90th birthday on August 5 – but his legacy lives on.
Reflecting on his dad's achievements, Mark, 57, said despite Armstrong touching the heavens in the historic Apollo 11 mission, he didn't admit to believing in God – but he did believe in alien life forms.
Speaking from his home in Cincinnati, Ohio, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings last year, he said: "A lot of astronauts claim to have had a spiritual experience, that was not true of my father.
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"My dad was an engineer and scientist first and foremost but had a wonderful spirit with a great sense of humour.
"Whatever religious beliefs he had he kept very close to the vest throughout his life.
"There have been a lot of claims from different religions about his converting to their religion, but none of that is true.
"But I once heard someone ask him if he believed in extraterrestrial life and his response was 'it would be arrogant not to'."
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He continued: "The universe is unimaginably vast and we know so little about it that his belief was, statistically speaking, the chances were overwhelmingly high that we are not the only life in the universe."
Armstrong's son's testament adds to debate as to whether Apollo astronauts may have spotted UFOs during their missions – a view never proven but still fiercely held by conspiracists.
The Apollo lunar flights may have ended in 1972, but the Moon has remained of great interest to NASA and scientists as well as inspiring us all to look up the stars.
That is something Armstrong's son Mark is very proud of to this day.
As the US looks to a new generation of space exploration with the Mars missions and bid to have astronauts landing on the lunar South Pole by 2024 – the pioneering spirt of men such as Armstrong continue to inspire.
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Mark said: "The plaque that they left on the moon, 'We came in peace for all mankind' had a very positive effect on the world.
"The human spirit was uplifted by the Apollo program. It inspired a generation of people to want to be work harder because they believed something good could happen in their future if they prepared themselves.
"I still see the evidence of that today when I speak to people from all over the world who say that they felt they were a part of the Moon landing.
"I am excited that going back to the Moon is now at the forefront of discussions in the public forum."
And despite believing in alien-life forces daddy Armstrong was very humble and down to Earth.
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Mark said: "My dad often said that he was 'born at the right time' to put himself in the candidate pool for Gemini and Apollo.
"All the candidates that applied for the program, most of whom were not chosen, were highly qualified in their own right.
"That's a responsibility that he was well suited for and it's difficult to imagine the pressures that he was under without actually being in his shoes."
And with NASA’s new Mars rover Perseverance said to be bristling with tech made to find signs of alien life – who knows what the next generation of space explorers may find.
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The American Government has set 2030 as the date of a crewed surface landing to Mars, with prior rover missions currently underway to support the human mission.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance will look for signs of previous life forms on the Red Planet, assess its climate, its geology and prove it can successfully deploy technologies for utilising natural resources in the Martian environment to support human life.
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In its mission statement NASA said: "Even if Mars is devoid of past or present life, however, there's still much excitement on the horizon.
"We ourselves might become the "life on Mars" should humans choose to travel there one day."
- Moon landing
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