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One small step for man


21 July 1969. Neil Armstrong walks on the Moon.

The Lunar Module (LM) Eagle touched down on the moon's surface just before 21.18 BST (20.18 GMT) on 20 July 1969.

Some six and a half hours later, at 03.56 BST (02.56 GMT) on 21 July, Neil Armstrong descended the ladder from Eagle.

After activating a specially-placed camera to record the event, Armstrong took 'one small step' and became the first person to walk on the moon.

As he stepped onto the Moon's surface Armstrong said: 'That's one small step for (...) man. One giant leap for mankind'.

On returning to Earth Armstrong revealed that the words were spontaneous and that he had intended to say One small step for a man... (which, of course, would make more sense) and, indeed, that he thought he had said ...for a man....

Ever since there's been much debate as to whether or not he actually did say ...a man... only for the word a to be masked by radio interference. Listen to the recording and judge for yourself.

Recent research analysing NASA's sound recordings and Armstrong's speech patterns has suggested that he could not have used the word 'a'. As reported here.

NB. The soundtrack has been edited to remove some prolonged pauses.

Images sourced from NASA.


I'm at the foot of the ladder. The LM foot pads are only depressed in the surface about 1 or 2 inches, although the surface appears to be very, very fine-grained as you get close to it. It's almost like a powder. Now and then, it's very fine. I'm going to step off the LM now...

That's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.

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