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Origin of Neil Armstrong's 'One Small Step' Line Revealed

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the too-bad-it-wasn't-mysterious-charades dept.

Moon 149

SchrodingerZ writes "In an upcoming BBC Documentary, Dean Armstrong, the brother of astronaut Neil Armstrong, reveals when the world famous 'one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind' line originated. For years, people have argued over when Armstrong came up with the line, whether it was on the spot or planned years ahead. Also debated is whether Armstrong meant to include 'a' before man, making the indefinite article 'man,' which alludes to mankind, into a singular, 'a man,' himself. According to Dean Armstrong, the quote was shared to him over a board game, months before the mission began. He says, 'We started playing Risk and then he [Neil] slipped me a piece of paper and said "read that." I did. On that piece of paper there was "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." He says "what do you think about that?" I said "fabulous." He said "I thought you might like that, but I wanted you to read it." He then added: "It was 'that is one small step for A man.'"' Armstrong had always insisted that he had said 'a,' that it was lost in communication static. This new story however conflicts with what Neil told James Hansen for his biography, stating he came up with the quote on the lunar surface. More on the historic moon landing and the life of Neil Armstrong in the new documentary Neil Armstrong- First Man on the Moon, on BBC."

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first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430499)

first

Re:first (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430507)

Hello, Neil.

Re:first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430537)

I pulled mine too hard and found that it contained cornflour.

Re:first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430581)

Well played Sir.

Re:first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431089)

Second is even better:

Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me.-Pete Conrad

WikiLeaks: The Spy Files (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430505)

http://wikileaks.org/the-spyfiles.html [wikileaks.org]

"Mass interception of entire populations is not only a reality, it is a secret new industry spanning 25 countries

It sounds like something out of Hollywood, but as of today, mass interception systems, built by Western intelligence contractors, including for â(TM)political opponentsâ(TM) are a reality. Today WikiLeaks began releasing a database of hundreds of documents from as many as 160 intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry. Working with Bugged Planet and Privacy International, as well as media organizations form six countries â" ARD in Germany, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in the UK, The Hindu in India, Lâ(TM)Espresso in Italy, OWNI in France and the Washington Post in the U.S. Wikileaks is shining a light on this secret industry that has boomed since September 11, 2001 and is worth billions of dollars per year. WikiLeaks has released 287 documents today, but the Spy Files project is ongoing and further information will be released this week and into next year.

International surveillance companies are based in the more technologically sophisticated countries, and they sell their technology on to every country of the world. This industry is, in practice, unregulated. Intelligence agencies, military forces and police authorities are able to silently, and on mass, and secretly intercept calls and take over computers without the help or knowledge of the telecommunication providers. Usersâ(TM) physical location can be tracked if they are carrying a mobile phone, even if it is only on stand by.

But the WikiLeaks Spy Files are more than just about â(TM)good Western countriesâ(TM) exporting to â(TM)bad developing world countriesâ(TM). Western companies are also selling a vast range of mass surveillance equipment to Western intelligence agencies. In traditional spy stories, intelligence agencies like MI5 bug the phone of one or two people of interest. In the last ten years systems for indiscriminate, mass surveillance have become the norm. Intelligence companies such as VASTech secretly sell equipment to permanently record the phone calls of entire nations. Others record the location of every mobile phone in a city, down to 50 meters. Systems to infect every Facebook user, or smart-phone owner of an entire population group are on the intelligence market.
Selling Surveillance to Dictators

When citizens overthrew the dictatorships in Egypt and Libya this year, they uncovered listening rooms where devices from Gamma corporation of the UK, Amesys of France, VASTech of South Africa and ZTE Corp of China monitored their every move online and on the phone.

Surveillance companies like SS8 in the U.S., Hacking Team in Italy and Vupen in France manufacture viruses (Trojans) that hijack individual computers and phones (including iPhones, Blackberries and Androids), take over the device, record its every use, movement, and even the sights and sounds of the room it is in. Other companies like Phoenexia in the Czech Republic collaborate with the military to create speech analysis tools. They identify individuals by gender, age and stress levels and track them based on âvoiceprintsâ(TM). Blue Coat in the U.S. and Ipoque in Germany sell tools to governments in countries like China and Iran to prevent dissidents from organizing online.

Trovicor, previously a subsidiary of Nokia Siemens Networks, supplied the Bahraini government with interception technologies that tracked human rights activist Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar. He was shown details of personal mobile phone conversations from before he was interrogated and beaten in the winter of 2010-2011.
How Mass Surveillance Contractors Share Your Data with the State

In January 2011, the National Security Agency broke ground on a $1.5 billion facility in the Utah desert that is designed to store terabytes of domestic and foreign intelligence data forever and process it for years to come.

Telecommunication companies are forthcoming when it comes to disclosing client information to the authorities - no matter the country. Headlines during Augustâ(TM)s unrest in the UK exposed how Research in Motion (RIM), makers of the Blackberry, offered to help the government identify their clients. RIM has been in similar negotiations to share BlackBerry Messenger data with the governments of India, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Weaponizing Data Kills Innocent People

There are commercial firms that now sell special software that analyze this data and turn it into powerful tools that can be used by military and intelligence agencies.

For example, in military bases across the U.S., Air Force pilots use a video link and joystick to fly Predator drones to conduct surveillance over the Middle East and Central Asia. This data is available to Central Intelligence Agency officials who use it to fire Hellfire missiles on targets.

The CIA officials have bought software that allows them to match phone signals and voice prints instantly and pinpoint the specific identity and location of individuals. Intelligence Integration Systems, Inc., based in Massachusetts - sells a âoelocation-based analyticsâ software called Geospatial Toolkit for this purpose. Another Massachusetts company named Netezza, which bought a copy of the software, allegedly reverse engineered the code and sold a hacked version to the Central Intelligence Agency for use in remotely piloted drone aircraft.

IISI, which says that the software could be wrong by a distance of up to 40 feet, sued Netezza to prevent the use of this software. Company founder Rich Zimmerman stated in court that his âoereaction was one of stun, amazement that they (CIA) want to kill people with my software that doesnâ(TM)t work."
Orwellâ(TM)s World

Across the world, mass surveillance contractors are helping intelligence agencies spy on individuals and âcommunities of interestâ(TM) on an industrial scale.

The Wikileaks Spy Files reveal the details of which companies are making billions selling sophisticated tracking tools to government buyers, flouting export rules, and turning a blind eye to dictatorial regimes that abuse human rights.
How to use the Spy Files

To search inside those files, click one of the link on the left pane of this page, to get the list of documents by type, company date or tag.

To search all these companies on a world map use the following tool from Owni"

http://wikileaks.org/The-Spyfiles-The-Map.html [wikileaks.org]

Re:WikiLeaks: The Spy Files (1, Informative)

johnsnails (1715452) | about 2 years ago | (#42430897)

Admittedly more interesting than the story at hand, wait your turn and submit the story following the correct procedure instead of hijacking this boring story!

Re:WikiLeaks: The Spy Files (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42432051)

Certainly worth looking into, but I'm reminded of a quote my uncle used to often say:

"Believe none of what you see, and only half of what you hear."

Stories like this fuel active imaginations everywhere and bolster an underground culture that thrives on these conspiracy theories. The problem is that one day, your government may really turn on you (this fiscal cliff may be the beginning of something very ugly), and the vast majority of the population will then assume that all whisperings are just another conspiracy theory.

dub in the "a" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430523)

regardless of what he had in mind, it makes no sense, so can we just edit in the "a" and it will be a great quote.

Re:dub in the "a" (4, Interesting)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#42430715)

Last I heard, Armstrong (who insisted he said it right), was vindicated by analysis of the original audio.

Re:dub in the "a" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430747)

regardless of what he had in mind, it makes no sense, so can we just edit in the "a" and it will be a great quote.

Correct. It loses something by not having an "a" at the end of the sentence where it belongs.

Re:dub in the "a" (3, Interesting)

ThePromenader (878501) | about 2 years ago | (#42431117)

The missing "a" does make sense: aren't "man" and "mankind" synonymous? "A man" and "mankind" are obviously different, and if used would make a more meaningful (and humble) phrase meaning: "one l'il tippytoe for l'il old me, but what a mark of progress!".

Re:dub in the "a" (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#42431021)

Regardless of what he said or didn't say, it really was one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.

Re:dub in the "a" (5, Interesting)

bjs555 (889176) | about 2 years ago | (#42431239)

Until about 10 years ago I remember hearing all broadcasts of Armstrong's quote with a definite crackling "a" before the word "man". Then the crackling "a" disappeared. It seems to me someone decided the audio sounded better without the crackling sound, edited it out, and threw away the original. Thus history was changed. It's disturbing.

Re:dub in the "a" (3, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#42431507)

It's completely bogus! He said something completely different, but they were too politically correct to admit it.

He said: "Holy living fuck... Are you fucking believing this? Over.
I abso-fucking-lutely am standing on the surface of the fucking moon!"

Here's the paper from that day that confirms it.:-)

http://www.doobybrain.com/2009/07/18/the-onion-holy-shit-man-walks-on-fucking-moon/ [doobybrain.com]

Doesn't matter (5, Insightful)

mrsam (12205) | about 2 years ago | (#42430543)

Having watched and heard this moment in history more times than I can remember, playing it over in my mind, I do think there's a slight "hiccup" in the audio, but I'm not sure if it's long enough for a dropped "a".

But it doesn't really matter. "a" or no "a". It was a moment in history that will never be repeated, or surpassed, ever again. What Buzz Aldrin, Neal Armstrong, and Michael Collins (in alphabetical order) have accomplished stands on its own merits. It is no more and no less of an accomplishment no matter what he actually said, or didn't say.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 2 years ago | (#42430607)

This is one of those moments you imagine coming up in conversation many times, in which you have been working on a zinger for quite some time. It is a lot of rehearsal and a little part of the moment

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42430961)

Some audio experts claim there is an "a", or at least a plausible gap. I've read a couple of articles about that topic. It will probably be debated forever, like the JFK assassination.

Here's one such reference Wikipedia gives:

Goddard, Jacqui (October 2, 2006). "One small word is one giant sigh of relief for Armstrong". The Times (London). Retrieved August 28, 2007. [link is broken]

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | about 2 years ago | (#42431447)

[not any more]

Re:Doesn't matter (3, Insightful)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42431581)

The man has said publicly that he said "a man". That's it. He's a man of honor, and insisting on proof is demeaning. Why does this even have to be argued? Does a man's word mean so little anymore? Move on, people.

Re:Doesn't matter (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431963)

Does man's word mean so little anymore?

FTFY

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

Flentil (765056) | about 2 years ago | (#42432363)

It matters because one brother is clearly lying. Neil insists that he thought of the phrase spontaneously on the moon and that he was humble and said "for a man", but his brother says he's lying on both counts, that he had the phrase pre-planned months earlier, and didn't intend it to be quite as humble. So there is meaning here. Either the brother is lying, or Neil was more dishonest than he'd have us believe.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42432425)

I see, I'd not heard of the 'brother' angle, interesting. I had heard that, of course the speech was reheased/memorized.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 2 years ago | (#42432009)

The g is also missing from giant, but nobody claims he said "one eye ant leap."

Yabba Dabba Doo! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430965)

My 6 year old son was asked what the first moon lander's famous words were, and he said "yabba dabba doo". I laughed but then thought, that was almost certainly much closer to what Armstrong was probably thinking, despite what he said.

Re:Yabba Dabba Doo! (1)

Nocturnal Deviant (974688) | about 2 years ago | (#42430979)

Now to build a time machine and switch myself with him just to say yabba...dabba...doo.

Re:Yabba Dabba Doo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431535)

Then he would be hit with a copyright lawsuit and all the recordings would be locked away forever.

Re:Doesn't matter (5, Funny)

baegucb (18706) | about 2 years ago | (#42431221)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11_in_popular_culture#Movies_and_television [wikipedia.org] says
Portions of the Apollo 11 mission are dramatized in the HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moon episode entitled "Mare Tranquilitatis". In that episode, Michael Collins made the following suggestion as to what Armstrong should say upon stepping onto the lunar surface: "If you had any balls, you'd say 'Oh, my God, what is that thing?' then scream and cut your mic."

Now that would have been epic :)

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

oobayly (1056050) | about 2 years ago | (#42431537)

According to Arthur C Clarke in the foreword to 2001, they told him that they wanted to "report that they'd found a black monolith, alas discretion prevailed"

Re:Doesn't matter (5, Interesting)

skine (1524819) | about 2 years ago | (#42431755)

It's actually not that unheard of for astronauts to play pranks in space. For example:

Having successfully completed the first ever two-space vehicle rendezvous in orbit with Frank Borman and James Lovell, Jr. in Gemini 7, Schirra and Stafford were understandably in high spirits before they began their atmospheric reentry maneuvers.

But, before beginning their journey home, NASA received a report from the pair saying they had spotted a UFO. According to Schirra's memoirs "Schirra's Space," Stafford contacted Mission Control and said: "We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit.... Looks like he might be going to re-enter soon.... You just might let me pick up that thing.... I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit."

Before Mission Control had time to digest the "UFO sighting," they heard an extraterrestrial rendition of "Jingle Bells" coming from Gemini 6. Schirra and Stafford had smuggled a harmonica and miniature sleigh bells onto the spacecraft especially for this moment.

http://news.discovery.com/space/big-pic-jingle-bells-first-space-music.html [discovery.com]

Re:Doesn't matter (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#42432141)

But, before beginning their journey home, NASA received a report from the pair saying they had spotted a UFO.

And of course, the UFO conspiracy theorists have taken this report seriously ever since.

Re:Doesn't matter (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#42431645)

It doesn't make much sense without the "a". "Man" and "mankind" mean the same thing in that context, but pointing out that it was only a single step from the base of the lander leg onto the surface that represented a huge moment in human history is quite apt.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about 2 years ago | (#42432223)

Thanks they didn't take gender study courses.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about 2 years ago | (#42432073)

It is on the symbolic action layer, it does not really matter what Neil Armstrong said. In particular as the story is wrong. Fritz Lang's team was first and stumm [youtube.com] .

maybe he had to drop the "a" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430553)

to lip sync with the footage they got from New Mexico?

Linguistic discussion (3, Informative)

Fnordulicious (85996) | about 2 years ago | (#42430573)

Language Log has discussed this a number of times [upenn.edu] .

The second line (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430585)

Did he also remember to ask Mr. Gorsky about the second line he planned to say?

Re:The second line (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430665)

I thought it was Manny Klein.

Re:The second line (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42431025)

No, sadly there was no Mr Gorsky.

Re:The second line (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431493)

In the snopes article on this subject, I like the line at the bottom about "good luck Mr Hubble"

that he said it ON THE MOON is the good part (5, Insightful)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about 2 years ago | (#42430587)

Why argue about whether he thought of it spontaneously on the moon or had thought of it or considered it before he took that first step. It's the fact that he said it ON THE MOON that is the good and important part. Personally, I believe that he probably did plan ahead and think about what he might say when he landed. Thus he most certainly did think of that phrase ahead of time (in my humble opinion). And who amongst us has not tried to get a little more glory by saying yeah I just thought of that spontaneously when we might have come up with the retort earlier. Certainly Armstrong does not NEED to be cooler or thought of as more: he walked on the moon. So who cares about whether that line was a spontaneous utterance or a well planned entrance line?
.
:>)
Neil Armstrong, my here. I would love to fly there someday and see those footsteps in the lunar dust, if the micrometeroids have not destroyed it. They'll probably put up a velvet rope around it to keep us tourist riff-raff away. If only. I wish. I truly wish. [Fly me to the moon!!! ;>) ]

Re:that he said it ON THE MOON is the good part (2)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about 2 years ago | (#42430591)

"my hero" is what I meant to say. I missed my typo when I previewed it. Saaahrry /. !

Re:that he said it ON THE MOON is the good part (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#42431635)

You use the preview button?! That already puts you way aheed of 99% of Slashdotr posters, myself included,

Re:that he said it ON THE MOON is the good part (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430777)

that he said it ON THE MOON is the good part

riding 60s technology hastily designed, developed and built in under a decade that has, in the 40+ years since, yet to be duplicated for a return... despite all of our advances in engineering, astrophysics, technology, manufacturing, and other fields. we *should* be able to get there for a mere fraction of apollo's cost (was approx $190b in current dollars)

Re:that he said it ON THE MOON is the good part (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#42430891)

that he said it ON THE MOON is the good part

riding 60s technology hastily designed, developed and built in under a decade that has, in the 40+ years since, yet to be duplicated for a return... despite all of our advances in engineering, astrophysics, technology, manufacturing, and other fields. we *should* be able to get there for a mere fraction of apollo's cost (was approx $190b in current dollars)

We've developed much less tolerance for risk since then, which drives up costs and complexity - NASA wouldn't certify an Apollo era spacecraft for human spaceflight today.

Re:that he said it ON THE MOON is the good part (2)

fostware (551290) | about 2 years ago | (#42430907)

Priorities.

We don't care about a desolate place that will require sinking great wads of cash into it, unless there's oil, rare earths and minerals, or our IP has been infringed.

Re:that he said it ON THE MOON is the good part (3, Interesting)

erice (13380) | about 2 years ago | (#42431115)

Priorities.

We don't care about a desolate place that will require sinking great wads of cash into it, unless there's oil, rare earths and minerals, or our IP has been infringed.

"We" didn't care then either. We cared about one-uping the Soviets. Once we had landed on the moon and determined that the Soviets weren't going to try to top it, we lost interest.

Apollo was never about science, exploration, or the opening of a frontier. It was a multi-billion dollar cold war publicity stunt that stole the thunder from the real pioneers that are still to come.

Re:that he said it ON THE MOON is the good part (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#42431657)

The whole "race to the moon" was largely one-sided. The Soviets made some effort but never put anything like the resources the US did into it. They were more interested in space stations and satellites with military applications. They are still the world leaders in space station technology too.

It wasn't about beating the Soviets, it was about recovering pride from being beat and ensuring electoral victory. Otherwise it would have been "get to the moon before the USSR", not "get to the moon before 01/01/1970".

Now if we could only get an answer if .. . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430589)

Mr Gorsky got lucky.

landed on the lizard egg (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430631)

clearly the moon must be a giant lizard egg waiting to hatch, probably from the asteroid which will come and crack it and we'll see the flag dangling from his anus.

The missing "A" (4, Interesting)

Ozoner (1406169) | about 2 years ago | (#42430655)

The missing "A" was not caused by static, but by the way that the VOX (Voice Operated Switch) operated.

The Sensitivity of the VOX is quite critical. If it's too sensitive, everybody gets to hear background noises like breaths and grunts. To work properly the VOX needs to be set quite "tight". If you listen to any of the recordings you can hear how the first syllable is always clipped. If the first word is a short sound, it will likely be cut completely.

In noisy conditions, most operators develop the habit of starting a sentence with a short "Ah". The "Ah" isn't transmitted, it just serves to open the mute.
Ask any Ham Radio Operator about setting up a VOX.

Re:The missing "A" (1)

fufufang (2603203) | about 2 years ago | (#42430717)

So what VOX switched off before he said "a"?

I think these days they should build a buffer circuit, and make everything delay for a few milliseconds, detect the voice, so the operators don't need to say "Ah".

Re:The missing "A" (1)

Ozoner (1406169) | about 2 years ago | (#42431219)

> So what VOX switched off before he said "a"?

The VOX is normally closed. When you start speaking in opens (after a pause), then closes again when you stop talking.

> I think these days they should build a buffer circuit, and make everything delay for a few milliseconds, detect the voice, so the operators don't need to say "Ah".

How would that help? Noise would still trigger the buffer circuit.

Engage brain before putting mouth in gear.

Re:The missing "A" (2)

Ozoner (1406169) | about 2 years ago | (#42431249)

> So what VOX switched off before he said "a"?

The VOX in the astronauts suit transmitter

Re:The missing "A" (1)

fufufang (2603203) | about 2 years ago | (#42431619)

How would that help? Noise would still trigger the buffer circuit.

You get another circuit running, detecting whether the sound in the buffer has reached the trigger level. If it has, then send everything in the buffer, until it drop back down below the threshold. Otherwise don't send anything. How about that?

Re:The missing "A" (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#42432433)

You get another circuit running, detecting whether the sound in the buffer has reached the trigger level. If it has, then send everything in the buffer, until it drop back down below the threshold. Otherwise don't send anything. How about that?

An audio buffer in a space suit in 1969? Really?

You are just proving how fantastically ignorant you are.

Re:The missing "A" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431297)

Know what? Try for yourself to reproduce "small step for man" from "small step for a man" by recording the latter and gating it into the former without the rhythm of the sentence getting unnatural.

FYI I've tried (but don't take my word for it) - it can't be done. The rhythm of the sentence would change and it would be detectable Neil had said "a".

Never mind mr. Armstrong insisted all his life that he said "small step for a man", I'm not buying it.

Re:The missing "A" (1)

Apocros (6119) | about 2 years ago | (#42432367)

Are most folks thinking of a long-A sound? Because to me, it seems like it works if you use a short-A sound for 'a' and quickly roll it into 'man'. Like pronouncing the name Amanda, but without the '-da' at the end.

Re:The missing "A" (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#42431669)

The problem with that theory is there was no pause or gap between "for" and "man". If it was swallowed by VOX or static the space would still be there.

The guy fluffed his line, hardly something to be ashamed of when you are just about to be the first man in history to set foot on another planet and there is still a very slight worry you will just sink into the dust, and even if somehow you don't the spacesuit might fail, or the lift-off motor might not fire, or any number of other things might go wrong. Armstrong was human, after all, which is kind of the point since robots had been there before.

Re:The missing "A" (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#42431761)

Actually, the missing "a" was inadvertently dropped when the Doctor spliced in the "You should kill us all on sight" bit.

Some of these were also considered... (2)

mykepredko (40154) | about 2 years ago | (#42430661)

"In your Face, Aldrin!"
"A quarter million miles, billions of dollars, and you won't believe what I just stepped in."
"What's that monolith doing here?"
"Man, you can't believe what a fart smells like in here."
"Houston, has Aldrin told you about his crotch rot yet?"
"Honey, I think I left the stove on."
"Houston, you're not going to believe this, but there's a flag with the Hammer and Sickle standing here."
"Man, I could use the fresh, relaxing taste of Coca-Cola."
"Suck it, Aldrin!"

myke

Re:Some of these were also considered... (3, Funny)

petman (619526) | about 2 years ago | (#42430919)

Don't forget,

"FIRST!"

Re:Some of these were also considered... (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about 2 years ago | (#42431477)

I just landed on the moon, and now I am going to Disneyland,

Re:Some of these were also considered... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42431597)

"My God, it's full of stars!"

Re:Some of these were also considered... (1)

VAXcat (674775) | about 2 years ago | (#42432561)

He could have made millions if the first thing he said on the moon had been "COCA COLA!"

Well this changes everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430685)

I can see how this pretty much invalidates the lunar landing entirely.

What he really said... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430689)

We're whalers on the moon...we carry a harpoon...

Suggestions for Armstrong's First Words (4, Interesting)

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) | about 2 years ago | (#42430739)

Even before the landing Armstrong's first word on the moon were much anticipated and there was a lot of discussion for weeks in the press about what they would be.

Esquire Magazine even ran a story before the moon landing where they asked sixty prominent figures at the time including Marshall McLuhan, Isaac Asimov, Buckminister Fuller, Ayn Rand, Bob Hope, Hubert Humphrey, Tiny Tim, Sal Mineo, Vladamir Nabokov, Mohamad Ali, Truman Capote, and John Kenneth Galbraith for their suggestions on what Armstrong should say upon landing on the moon [esquire.com] that would "ring through the ages.".

When Neil H. Armstrong, a blond, blue-eyed, thirty-eight-year-old civilian astronaut from Wapakoneta, Ohio, steps out of the lunar landing module this summer and plants his size eleven space boot on the surface of the moon, the event will eclipse in historic importance the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World. Commander Armstrong's step will not immediately affect the nature of the quality of life on earth, of course (neither did Columbus'), but it will mark the departure point of a fantastic new adventure in the saga of man. For that step onto the moon will signal a readiness to travel throughout the solar system, even the universe â" in flights that will lead not merely to new worlds, new substances, new conceptions about the nature of matter and of life itself, but, it can scarcely be doubted, to contact with new beings as well. Moreover, Armstrong's will be the first such epic stride to be recorded in detail by the microphone and the television camera. Future generations will be able to relive all that was said and done at that moment as never before in the history of exploration. The stupendous magnitude and unprecedented visibility of what Commander Armstrong is about to do, therefore, combine to pose the question: when the astronaut takes the first step on the moon, what should he say?

I believe it may have been Gore Vidal who made the suggestion that still sticks in my mind after forty-three years: "We come in peace for all mankind. Now come out from behind that rock with your hands up."

Re:Suggestions for Armstrong's First Words (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#42430853)

Great article! My favorites:

"I'll be darned, it's made of cheese!" -- Bob Hope
"Now how the hell do we get back?" -- Jim Whittaker

And, of course, the Eddie Izzard Classic [youtube.com] .

Re:Suggestions for Armstrong's First Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431275)

Ga Go Ga? Since babies are somewhat limited on longer sentances for their first words!!

Re:Suggestions for Armstrong's First Words (2)

twosat (1414337) | about 2 years ago | (#42431289)

If he had encountered an alien, he would have said his name backwards, "Gnorts, Mr Alien!"

Re:Suggestions for Armstrong's First Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431519)

Nabokov's reply is great, though it turned out his concern was unfounded.

Ayn Rand was asked?!? The irony. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431899)

Ayn Rand was asked about words to say on the Moon - a landing funded by tax payer money? Money taken by the government from its citizens.

Ayn Rand: "This is what happens when Collectivism works."

No, couldn't have happened. She was the Queen of rationalizations. She would have come up with something about great men and private industry, skirting around the whole government involvement, and then gone a fucked one of her fanboys - while still married.

She had wonderful rationalizations for cheating on her husband, too.

Is the primary commemorative plaque definitive? (4, Interesting)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | about 2 years ago | (#42430741)

Last time I was there, at Tranquility Park in downtown Houston, across from the old federal building/current federal courts at 515 Rusk, there was a giant plaque at the entrance to the park quoting those first words from the moon.

The quote included the missing "a".

Somebody thought highly enough of the theory that the article belonged in the sentence that they cast it in bronze, decades ago, soon after the landing.

It's been a while since I've been in that park. Is there anybody who works nearby who can verify that the plaque, complete with the "a", is still there? It used to be at the corner entrance on the Rusk side of the park.

Re:Is the primary commemorative plaque definitive? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430829)

You mean this thing [wikipedia.org] ?

I can make out an "a" at the bottom of the granite plaque on the left.

Re:Is the primary commemorative plaque definitive? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42432259)

That is truly one of the finest pictures of a trashcan I have ever seen.

Will someone, anyone please go stand next to that trash can and shoot a panorama?

Rehearsed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430751)

I'm sure any person who is about to make a giant turning point in history would come up with a quote a few minutes at least before hand. I never noticed the "man" and "mankind" but it sounds so much better with the "a".

Missing the point (3, Informative)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 2 years ago | (#42430761)

Neil Armstrong was a gaming nerd!

Re:Missing the point (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#42431077)

Neil Armstrong was a gaming nerd!

amen

In other news... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | about 2 years ago | (#42430781)

In other news, who cares? It was an amazing moment in history. Why on earth are people still quibbling over the *EXACT* thing he said? Who *REALLY* cares if he messed it up live? The point was the same whether he missed an A or not.

Okay timothy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42430813)

that that it was lost in communication static

Another summary with a mistake, making it the third in a row. I think it's time to call it quits.

I've seen better. (2)

tool462 (677306) | about 2 years ago | (#42430887)

Not a huge fan of this origin story. I'm personally waiting for the Brian Singer reboot.

43 years (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#42430927)

is the time during one could have asked Mr Armstrong directly...

Grammar? We don't need no steenkin' grammar! (1)

RicardoGCE (1173519) | about 2 years ago | (#42430941)

Also debated is whether Armstrong meant to include 'a' before man, making the indefinite article 'man', which alludes to mankind, into a singular, 'a man', himself.

"Man" is a noun, not an article. The addition of the indefinite article "a" is the difference between a count noun ("a man") or a non-count noun ("man").

Re:Grammar? We don't need no steenkin' grammar! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#42430985)

Also debated is whether Armstrong meant to include 'a' before man, making the indefinite article 'man', which alludes to mankind, into a singular, 'a man', himself.

"Man" is a noun, not an article. The addition of the indefinite article "a" is the difference between a count noun ("a man") or a non-count noun ("man").

If we're going to call the grammar police then we might as well correct the whole thing. The sentence is missing either a comma or quotes:

Armstrong meant to include 'a' before 'man', making the indefinite article 'man', ...

-or-

Armstrong meant to include 'a' before, man, making the indefinite article 'man', ...

Well, that's just, like, my opinion, man.

Re:Grammar? We don't need no steenkin' grammar! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431265)

While on the topic,

Armstrong had always insisted that he had said 'a', that it was lost in communication static.

I've decided to take a look at the waveform.
The "flow" of the wave is far too fluent for "a" to have been lost in static.
Try recording the phrase "one small step for a man" and cutting out "a", no matter how fluent you try to say this snippet of sentence, it will always sound and look like something's missing. The same is not the case for the historic recording, i.e. there's NO WAY he said "a".

Now, I can see why he did't want to admit this mistake (after all, a mistake that you know will end up in all history books is pretty embarrassing) but I have no doubt he really messed up his quote live. (And as another posted pointed out, it's not about the quote but about the event).

Re:Grammar? We don't need no steenkin' grammar! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431299)

You have it back to front.

Regards,
Hitler

he's a lier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431081)

"This new story however conflicts with what Neil told James Hansen for his biography, stating he came up with the quote on the lunar surface."

Thus exposing one of the American greatest heroes as a liar. Not even a bullshiter, which would be a softer version, but a plain liar.

People have lousy memories, (1)

qeveren (318805) | about 2 years ago | (#42431139)

Even astronauts. Even about stuff they themselves did. Brains are dumb things sometimes. :)

Automatic PTT (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#42431253)

Armstrong paused for the a and I suspect the voice controlled push to talk in his OPS pack dropped out for a moment.

When are AFRICANS going to the moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431383)

Anybody?

Are you sick of your WHITE country being flooded with millions of unwanted, parasitic third world INVADERS yet?

How bad will it have to get before you stop defending this insanity? Will you wait until it's too late to turn it around, and you're surrounded by these 'wonderful' people?

Re:When are AFRICANS going to the moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42432111)

I'll tell you what I'm sick of. It's folks like you who give normal white people a bad name. Now fuck off with that bullshit.

Not a fan of Neil ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431413)

I was just eight years old when Lovell Anders and Bormann flew to the Moon and back without landing the Christmas before Neil's Moon Landing. The Apollo 8 team had warmth grace and humanity I've drawn on in all the years since ... it is my fondest memory of childhood when my mother would ask us to place ourselves there ... it seemed so real. These guys were true ambassadors for good will when they returned and for years to come.

Constrast that with the petty secretive and closed-mouthed Neil Armstrong. He labored long and finally spoke up in favor of more government funding for the NASA pension system. Geez what a let down Neil was....

I watched that original broadcast (4, Interesting)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 2 years ago | (#42431639)

With Walter Cronkite.

The first words was a big deal, everybody was anxious to hear what
they would be. After the "one small step" line Cronkite says to his
co-host well you have to understand he was under a lot of pressure
over what to say. Nobody really thought it was great by any means
but it's what we got.

For me: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
will always be the first words spoken and quality stuff.

Everyone always misses out the most important part (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#42431871)

I don't know why, but everyone always misses out the most important part:

"That's one small step for [a] man [static] YOU SHOULD KILL US ALL ON SIGHT [static], one giant leap for mankind."

oh well all the same (1)

drankr (2796221) | about 2 years ago | (#42431925)

Turned out it was one giant leap for Armstrong, one largely irrelevant step for mankind.

It's all Academic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42431961)

Since they never *actually* landed on the moon :).

Who cares (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 2 years ago | (#42432105)

Can't people just leave HISTORY ALONE?

Falsification of history (3, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 2 years ago | (#42432213)

I listened to the event live, and I and everyone in the room heard it as "one small step for man." And I remember at the time hearing a comment, "shouldn't he have said one small step for a man?" The audio recording is perfectly clear. There's no squelch, no gap, and nothing half-buried under static. The New York Times reported it as it was.

Neil Armstrong originally insisted he had said "a" but later acknowledged that he could not have said so. Wikipedia cites sources. [wikipedia.org]

Yet some encyclopedias and history books include the "a." It is a kindly falsification of history, made out of misguided respect for Neil Armstrong's feelings.

And I find it shocking.

It is a trivial distortion, but it is a distortion of an event that was witnessed in live broadcast by half a billion people and electronically recorded.

If such a thing can be distorted simply to spare one man's feelings about a completely inconsequential mistake, what does that tell us about the trustworthiness of basic, prosaic factual details of historical events with few eyewitnesses, no electronic records, and money, politics, or national pride hanging in the balance?

Sad that this is brought up (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#42432725)

He has created multiple controversy towards the end of his life:
1) his blasting of Obama's push for private space support while ignoring the fact that NASA's main-line rockets are disasters.
2) his blasting of SpaceX, elon musk, and then his retraction of it.
3) now, questions about his earlier statements; IOW, a question about his veracity.

While it appears that his mind is going, or that he has allowed his political extremism to take hold, I just hope that none of this overshadow's his earlier accomplishments. Prior to his getting involved with politics, he did a lot of good work.
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