10 Surprising Secrets From Apollo 11’s Historic Moon Landing

By Carl Engelking | July 18, 2014 12:08 pm

(Credit: NASA)

This year is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the first time humans walked on the moon. The iconic imagery and audio from the mission is certainly seared into humankind’s collective consciousness, but there are a handful of side stories from the mission that are often overlooked. Here are some of the historical anecdotes that will change the way you remember man’s first foray on the moon.

10. “In the Event of Moon Disaster” 

Had the Apollo 11 moon landing gone horribly wrong, the world may have immortalized the words of William Safire, Richard Nixon’s speechwriter. You see, Safire had written a statement for Nixon to deliver in the wake of a hypothetical moon disaster. Rather than Neil Armstrong’s famous words, we may have committed an equally poetic phrase to memory: “Fate has ordained that men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.”

9. A Famous Misquote? 

When Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon, he actually meant to say “That’s one small step for man.” People have argued whether a shoddy radio connection caused the misquote, or if Armstrong had a case of global stage fright and skipped over the tiny, but important, word.


8. Speaking of Those ‘First’ Words…

Armstrong gets all the credit for uttering the first words on the moon, but “That’s one small step…” wasn’t the first lunar sentence spoken — technically. Bob Berman, Slooh astronomer and author of Zoom, tells a different story that came out of an interview with Aldrin years ago. Berman says Aldrin was actually the first man to speak on the moon, but his quote wasn’t nearly as sexy. When the lander touched down, Aldrin simply said, “OK, engines stop.”

(For more insider stories about the Apollo 11 landing, be sure to tune into Slooh’s live webcast of the moon’s surface in HD — complete with commentary from Berman and other special guests.)

7. Armstrong Was Too Good a Pilot

Although it seems counter-intuitive, Armstrong landed the Eagle too softly on the surface of the moon. Berman says Armstrong was supposed to cut the engines when the lander was a few feet from the surface. NASA scientists built the lander with legs that would crumple upon impact to absorb the shock. Since Armstrong was such an ace pilot, the lander’s legs never crumpled. As a result, the astronauts had to exit the lander several feet higher than intended, which means that first small step was more of a leap.

6. That’s One Soggy Step 

Armstrong was the first human to step foot on the moon, but Aldrin holds the title as the first man to urinate on it. Upon stepping foot on the moon, Aldrin promptly emptied his bladder into his space suit’s internal urine collector. Unfortunately, Armstrong’s piloting skills came back to haunt Aldrin: when he made his higher-than-expected leap from the Eagle, his urine collector broke upon sticking the landing. As a result, one of Aldrin’s boots filled with pee when he relieved himself, Berman says. Fully aware that he was on a live radio feed, Aldrin kept that bit of information to himself.

buzz aldrin

Buzz Aldrin (Courtesy: NASA)

5. The Moon’s Aroma

Have you ever wondered what the moon smells like? When Aldrin and Armstrong, caked with moon dust, returned to the Eagle lander, they reported that the moon smelled a bit like wet ashes and gunpowder. Pressurizing the cabin upon their return was in itself a worrisome operation: some folks believed lunar dust was flammable, and would ignite as soon as it came in contact with oxygen. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.

4. Broadcasting in HD

We all remember that iconic video feed beamed to hundreds of millions of earthlings in 1969, but the video was actually captured in higher quality than we ever saw. That’s because the camera captured video in a format that commercial television stations couldn’t broadcast. NASA used a scan converter to adapt the video for U.S. broadcast signals, but by the time the images appeared on home television sets, the feed was substantially degraded.

However, thanks to technology, you can watch restored versions of the moon landing.

3. A Mother’s Concern

There are myriad things a moonwalker’s mother could worry about, but Neil Armstrong’s mom had just one real concern: that the lunar crust was too delicate and wouldn’t support her son’s weight when he walked on it.

2. What We Left Behind

Although every man on the Apollo 11 mission returned to Earth safely, they left plenty of artifacts back on the moon. Some items, such as a golden olive branch, American flag, Apollo 1 patch and a moon memorial disk, served a symbolic function.

But there was also plenty of junk left behind, including television cables, a camera, urine and defecation collection devices, tongs and a hammer to name a few. NASA has compiled a list of every single item the Apollo missions left behind on the moon.

1. A Second Chance

Aldrin may have never had the chance to walk on the moon because NASA turned down his initial application to become an astronaut. He tried again, and was accepted in the third group of astronauts in 1963; he became known as “Dr. Rendezvous.”

MORE ABOUT: moon, space exploration
  • Robert Karma

    I thought I was up to date on all of the trivia about the space program after years of study but I have to admit I didn’t know that Buzz had urinated into his boot as he checked out the Magnificent Desolation of the lunar surface. He may not have been the first to walk on the moon but surely he was the first to pee on the moon!

    • Dallas Joe

      I found a video of authentic moon landing footage;
      which shows CLEARLY ….. strings, attached to BOTH
      “astronauts” , if anyone is interested.

      I cannot post a link… because it ends up being deleted by the mods.

      the video is called :
      Apollo 17 EVA 1 – Return to LM, SEP Deployment, & EVA 1 Close-out

      and if you start it at 21:21 …… you might change your mind,
      about whether or not they fooled you….

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Mike Oak

    Neil Armstrong did say “one small step for ‘a’ man…” It’s the media that took the “a” away by removing it from a lot of subsequent copies. I suspect it made for a better “sound bite”. Please, you’re a science writer, you should have checked.

    • Mr. Shadow

      Sorry, but Armstrong himself said that he said the phrase wrong.

    • Lilly

      Mike; Your comment is probably THE stupidest comment I’ve ever read on the internet ever about any subject. Congratulations. Wht do you do in your spare time besides playing with toilet paper rolls?

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Mike Oak

        Trolling just makes you look like an even bigger jerk.

      • Redhands


    • Mac

      The ‘a’ didn’t come through in the transmission, if Armstrong did indeed say it. I didn’t hear an ‘a’ at the time, and I thought what a strange comment, it doesn’t make sense, but if an ‘a’ is placed before ‘man’, Armstrong’s statement does make sense.
      Before the landing, there had been a lot of speculation about what the first words from the moon would be, like “Uh, duh…”

  • ToSeek

    “that first small step was more of a leap.”

    This is inaccurate – the first small step was off the LM footpad. They did have to take a big leap off the ladder and onto the footpad, but that wasn’t onto the surface of the Moon.

    • Nedward Marbletoe

      so the first footprint was from a small step. kewl.

  • Sammy6

    What a totally ‘guy’ thing to do. We flew to the moon. We landed there. We peed on it. Borrowing from the famous latin phrase, I came, I saw, I peed?

    • Tim Cadell

      Veni, vidi, pipi?

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    • Lilly

      So, what would a woman have done, held it until she got back to Earth 5 days later? What a dumba$$ comment. Get a grip.

      • SixSixSix

        Needed a bigger mouthed pee collector. What else? Or a catheter – wow first catheter on the moon.

      • Sammy6

        Somebody took an extra crabby pill this morning. How hypersensitive do you have to be to take offense at a joke clearly aimed at the stupid things us guys do? Hey, Lilly, the man-haters club called. They’ve extended your platinum membership.

        • Jeffrey J Nelson

          Must not have gotten her maximum cramp relief this month.

      • SeeToSee

        Watch a few episodes of Honey Boo Boo if you need a crash course in female pee humor. Marking the moon or peeing our name in moon dust isn’t part of our biological makeup. We deal with biology-meets-clothing horrors well beyond pee in our boots, anyway.

      • gmk kmg

        ”Houston, we have a… you know what? Forget about it.”
        ”What’s wrong?”
        ”No no, it’s nothing, really…”

      • Dallas Joe

        I found a video of authentic moon landing footage;
        which shows CLEARLY ….. strings, attached to BOTH
        “astronauts” , if anyone is interested.

        I cannot post a link… because it ends up being deleted by the mods.

        the video is called :
        Apollo 17 EVA 1 – Return to LM, SEP Deployment, & EVA 1 Close-out

        and if you start it at 21:21 …… you might change your mind,
        about whether or not they fooled you.

    • James Cheatham

      So that makes it ours?

    • Basketball God

      Totally ignorant comment. Typical peasant viewpoint.

    • Dallas Joe

      this Youtube video of actual footage :
      Apollo 17 EVA 1 – Return to LM, SEP Deployment, & EVA 1 Close-out
      ( if you start it at 21:21 ) shows the STRINGS attached to the top/center of Both

      They look like antennae , but they are not.
      They are Multiple strings, or shiny rubber bands.
      I posted the name of the video, because the Link needs to be “approved by D-brief”.

  • Buddy199

    From the list:

    Golf balls (2)

    100 – 2 Dollar bills

    Tie tack

    Falcon feather


    No man has ever ascended
    higher than 300 miles,
    if that high, above the Earth’s surface. No man has ever orbited,
    landed on, or walked upon the moon in any publicly known space program.
    If man has ever truly been to the moon it has been done in secret and
    with a far different technology.

    The tremendous radiation encountered in the Van Allen Belt, solar
    radiation, cosmic radiation, temperature control, and many other problems
    connected with space travel prevent living organisms leaving our
    atmosphere with our known level of technology. Any intelligent high
    school student with a basic physics book can prove NASA faked the Apollo
    moon landings.

    If you doubt this please explain how the astronauts walked upon the
    moon’s surface enclosed in a space suit in full sunlight absorbing a
    minimum of 265 degrees of heat surrounded by a vacuum. NASA tells us the
    moon has no atmosphere and that the astronauts were surrounded by the
    vacuum of space.

    Heat is defined as the vibration or movement of molecules within matter.
    The faster the molecular motion the higher the temperature. The slower
    the molecular motion the colder the temperature. Absolute zero is that
    point where all molecular motion ceases. In order to have hot or cold
    molecules must be present.

    A vacuum is a condition of nothingness where there are no molecules.
    Vacuums exist in degrees. Some scientists tell us that there is no such
    thing as an absolute vacuum. Space is the closest thing to an absolute
    vacuum that is known to us. There are so few molecules present in most
    areas of what we know as “space” that any concept of “hot” or “cold” is
    impossible to measure. A vacuum is a perfect insulator. That is why a
    “Thermos” or vacuum bottle is used to store hot or cold liquids in order
    to maintain the temperature for the longest time possible without
    re-heating or re-cooling.

    Radiation of all types will travel through a vacuum but will not affect
    the vacuum. Radiant heat from the sun travels through the vacuum of
    space but does not “warm” space. In fact the radiant heat of the sun has
    no affect whatsoever until it strikes matter. Molecular movement will
    increase in direct proportion to the radiant energy which is absorbed by
    matter. The time it takes to heat matter exposed to direct sunlight in
    space is determined by its color, its elemental properties, its distance
    from the sun, and its rate of absorption of radiant heat energy. Space
    is NOT hot. Space is NOT cold.

    Objects which are heated
    cannot be cooled by space. In order for an object to cool it must first be removed
    from direct sunlight. Objects which are in the shadow of another object
    will eventually cool but not because space is “cold”. Space is not cold.
    Hot and cold do not exist in the vacuum of space. Objects cool because
    the laws of motion dictate that the molecules of the object will slow
    down due to the resistance resulting from striking other molecules until
    eventually all motion will stop provided the object is sheltered from
    the direct and/or indirect radiation of the sun and that there is no
    other source of heat. Since the vacuum of space is the perfect insulator
    objects take a very long time to cool even when removed from all sources
    of heat, radiated or otherwise.

    NASA insists the space suits the astronauts supposedly wore on the lunar
    surface were air conditioned. An air conditioner cannot, and will not
    work without a heat exchanger. A heat exchanger simply takes heat
    gathered in a medium such as freon from one place and transfers it to
    another place. This requires a medium of molecules which can absorb and
    transfer the heat such as an atmosphere or water. An air conditioner
    will not and cannot work in a vacuum. A space suit surrounded by a
    vacuum cannot transfer heat from the inside of the suit to any other
    place. The vacuum, remember, is a perfect insulator. A man would roast
    in his suit in such a circumstance.

    NASA claims the spacesuits were cooled by a water system which was piped
    around the body, then through a system of coils sheltered from the sun
    in the backpack. NASA claims that water was sprayed on the coils causing
    a coating of ice to form. The ice then supposedly absorbed the
    tremendous heat collected in the water and evaporated into space. There
    are two problems with this that cannot be explained away. 1) The amount
    of water needed to be carried by the astronauts in order to make this
    work for even a very small length of time in the direct 55o
    over the boiling point of water (210oF at sea level on Earth)
    heat of the sun could not have possibly been carried by the astronauts.
    2) NASA has since claimed that they found ice in moon craters. NASA
    claims that ice sheltered from the direct rays of the sun will NOT
    evaporate, destroying their own bogus “air conditioning” explanation.

    Remember this. Think about it the next time you go off in the morning
    with a “vacuum bottle” filled with hot coffee. Think about it long and
    hard when you sit down and pour a piping hot cup from your thermos to
    drink with your lunch four hours later. . . and then think about it
    again when you pour the last still very warm cup of coffee at the end of
    the day.

    The same laws of physics apply to any vehicle traveling through space.
    NASA claims that the spacecraft was slowly rotated causing the shadowed
    side to be cooled by the intense cold of space. . . an intense cold that
    DOES NOT EXIST. In fact the only thing that could have been accomplished
    by a rotation of the spacecraft is a more even and constant heating such
    as that obtained by rotating a hot dog on a spit. In reality a dish
    called Astronaut a la Apollo would have been served. At the very least
    you would not want to open the hatch upon the crafts return.

    NASA knows better than to claim, in addition, that a water cooling
    apparatus such as that which they claim cooled the astronauts suits
    cooled the spacecraft. No rocket could ever have been launched with the
    amount of water needed to work such a system for even a very short period
    of time. Fresh water weighs a little over 62 lbs. per cubic foot. Space
    and weight capacity were critical given the lift capability of the
    rockets used in the Apollo Space Program. No such extra water was
    carried by any mission whatsoever for suits or for cooling the

    On the tapes the Astronauts complained bitterly of the cold during their
    journey and while on the surface of the moon. They spoke of using heaters
    that did not give off enough heat to overcome the intense cold of space.
    It was imperative that NASA use this ruse because to tell the truth
    would TELL THE TRUTH. It is also proof of the arrogance and contempt in
    which the Illuminati holds the common man.

    What we heard is in reality indicative of an over zealous cooling system
    in the props used during the filming of the missions at the Atomic
    Energy Commission’s Nevada desert test site, where it is common to see
    temperatures well over 100o. In the glaring unfiltered direct
    heat of the sun the Astronauts could never have been cold at any time
    whatsoever in the perfect insulating vacuum of space.

    NASA claims that the space suits worn by the astronauts were pressurized
    at 5 psi over the ambient pressure (0 psi vacuum) on the moon’s surface.
    We have examined the gloves NASA claims the astronauts wore and find
    they are made of pliable material containing no mechanical, hydraulic,
    or electrical devices which would aid the astronauts in the dexterous
    use of their fingers and hands while wearing the gloves. Experiments
    prove absolutely that such gloves are impossible to use and that the
    wearer cannot bend the wrist or fingers to do any dexterous work
    whatsoever when filled with 5 psi over ambient pressure either in a
    vacuum or in the earth’s atmosphere. NASA actually showed film and
    television footage of astronauts using their hands and fingers normally
    during their EVAs on the so-called lunar surface. The films show clearly
    that there is no pressure whatsoever within the gloves . . . a condition
    that would have caused explosive decompression of the astronauts
    resulting in almost immediate death if they had really been surrounded
    by the vacuum of space.

    If you don’t believe it try it yourself . . . it is a very simple
    experiment and does not require a rocket scientist to perform. These are
    just two of over a hundred very simple and very easy to prove valid
    scientific reasons why NASA and the Apollo Space Program are two of the
    biggest lies ever foisted upon the unsuspecting and trusting People of
    the world.

    • Haywood Yablowmie


      • jsplegge

        A special kind of moron. One might say fractally moronic.

    • Buddy199

      So, NASA launched 18 manned missions in front of tens of thousands of spectators at Cape Canaveral that actually never went to the moon? Thanks for clearing that up.

      • BinaryWatcher

        1. We spent billions and developed the entire Apollo program, all to hoax it? It wouldn’t be possible to do so without building – and launching – SOMEthing. AND
        sending it all the way to the moon and back. Because radar observations and radio signals.

        2. Which leads to the second point, we were deep in the Cold War, AND a space race with the USSR, and the Soviets were watching. They would have busted us for the fakery, and crowed about it for a thousand years.

        3. And how many people were directly or closely related to the Apollo program? 250,000 or more? Yet we are supposed to believe that they’ve all kept their mouths shut
        since? All of them? Impossible. Absurd.

        • imnottellingu

          RIght. My father helped put man on the moon and there is no way he could or would fake answers to all the questions I bombarded him with over the years. Sorry. Anyone who thinks this was fake is a moron.

          • BinaryWatcher

            Of course, you know, imnottellingu, the True Believers just consider us insiders, part of the whole “conspiracy” that kept their ludicrous secret. Whatever. The Soviets sure weren’t, but they didn’t raise a protest.

          • Dallas Joe

            no one “thinks” its fake.
            we KNOW its fake.
            Common sense tells us.

          • lex lexich

            to me it is fascinating that even 50 years later noone sent at least a robot up there to film in HD the landing sites so we could know once and for all, i mean how expensive would be today to send a small rover/robot/drone with camera

        • Dallas Joe

          Soviets are lying to their people too.
          they don’t tell us our secrets,
          as long as We don’t tell them theirs.
          Did you ever consider that ?
          Its about MONEY. and Fooling your own country.

    • Timothy Culley

      Everything that is not at absolute zero looses heat through radiation whether in a vacuum or not. Objects shaded in space are receiving almost no heat from outside sources and so they cool very rapidly. Fast enough that a rotating spacecraft will loose more energy from its shaded surfaces than it gains from the surfaces with the sun shining on them. This is why manned spacecraft require heaters.

      Don’t try to make a case that we can’t fly in space just because you misunderstand thermodynamics.

      • Dallas Joe

        I found a video of authentic moon landing footage;
        which shows CLEARLY ….. strings, attached to BOTH
        “astronauts” , if anyone is interested.

        I cannot post a link… because it ends up being deleted by the mods.

        the video is called :
        Apollo 17 EVA 1 – Return to LM, SEP Deployment, & EVA 1 Close-out

        and if you start it at 21:21 …… you might change your mind,
        about whether or not they fooled you. omg

    • Brian

      Where do you get your information. I’m curious. Are you yourself a scientist. Please respond to B-Man on Twitter
      thank you.

      • BinaryWatcher

        I seriously doubt he is.

        But I am.

        • Brian

          I never got the chance to see any artifacts from the moon walk. Up here in Canada, we were barraged with all kinds of info.

    • Lorie Franceschi

      Think about this: If a vacuum has no molecules than what you are saying about cold and heat has a big flaw in it, which means since there are none of the little guys to move around there is no movement to generate heat, so, by inference, there is cold.

      There are many other Items that you tried to “explain” about the Apollo missions that are totally wrong and have no merit.

      Make sure you understand what you are talking about before you start babbling.

      • Dallas Joe

        you guys sure make up alot of reasons that keep you believing. WOW.

        You sound like Religious fanatics.

        • Lorie Franceschi

          Of course you still probably think that the earth is the center of the universe. Watched it live. Too many instruments were left on moon that are still used today 49 years later.

          • Dallas Joe

            Have you seen the interview of the astronaut, that was asked why
            we have not gone to the moon again? ……..
            He flat-out said “We do not have the technology”…….

            What you saw on television, was scripted, and a movie.
            And if there is ANYTHING on the moon….. it was put there
            by rockets and un-manned craft.

            Research the Van Allen radiation belts.

            It really sucks to find out that NASA is a big phony,
            they even fooled the Russians , for God’s sakes.
            but its true. they fooled us all.
            I refuse to believe anymore.
            Good day.

          • Dallas Joe

            I watched Magicians on stage do some magical things too.
            And I even had some Card -trick guy, do some incredible stuff…
            and It seemed real.
            Its too bad, that a lot of people can’t understand that they were fooled.
            Seeing something with your own eyes, does not always make it real.
            Except in your mind.

          • Lorie Franceschi

            NASA did a great job of hoodwinking billions of people then. Includi,g our Cold War enemies , the former Soviet Union and Mainland China. The USA sent 14 men to walk on the Moon, 12 did. Think about this, if even for a second, if the Soviet Union or China thought any of those missions were fake they would have called us out to make the USA look bad among th countries of Earth. They did not do it, because they knew that we really did go to the Moon and walk on its syrface.

          • Lorie Franceschi

            If the moon landings of almost 40 years ago were faked, do you not think that at the time our two biggest enemies would shout it from the tallest mountain? Russia an China would be screaming that we faked everything! A littlresearch on the political history of the time would show that Russia and China were just waiting for something that they could use against us. Please use some of your brain power to good use and research the political happenings of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
            Then get back to me, with proof that we did not send men to the moon.
            The movie Capcricorn one is just what it was supposed to be a science fiction movie. That is what start the conspiracist theories that the moon landings were faked. The movie was about men going to Mars.

    • Nedward Marbletoe

      Australian aborigines sya they went to the moon, but I don’t think they left footprints.

  • Haywood Yablowmie

    It wasn’t “engines stop”, it was “engine stop”. There was only one descent engine.

    • Jim Oberg

      And it was no secret, it was heard and recorded and published immediately.

  • z4luvr

    Best quote was when Aldrin jumped down from the LEM and said, “That may have been one small step for Neil, but it sure seemed like a big one to me!”

    • Nordguy

      That wasn’t Aldrin. That was Pete Conrad on Apollo 12

      • z4luvr

        Sorry – should have known that. Pete Conrad was a funny guy.

      • darryl

        Apparently Pete won a bet from a reporter who didn’t believe that he could say what he wanted to when he first walked. I guess he never did get paid his $1500.


      • Daniel Webster

        Buzz was probably thinking it though because Armstrong was such a good pilot he landed it without the legs crumpling even though they were designed to crumple consequently they were several feet off the ground

  • Luke101

    What do we have now to be proud of?
    -Nothing but a stupid and useless ISS, that was a moronic pc inspired idea in the first place. We could have built a moon base by now…..

    • BinaryWatcher

      No. Originally we were working on Space Station Freedom, an entirely US-based construct. It wasn’t until the politicians in DC got involved that it suddenly got designated an INTERNATIONAL space station.

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Eric Lipps

        “The politicians in DC” were involved form day one. Where do you think the money came from? And the station became an international project because of the money; making it multinational meant other countries could be gotten to chip in.

        • BinaryWatcher

          Unfortunately not. I was active in the program at that time, though i was working Shuttle, not Station — but I had plenty of colleagues who crossed between the programs, so I’m well aware of what was happening. NASA went forward with a budget that included SSF, and it was approved as a domestic station. The next president to enter office was the one who determined – pretty much unilaterally, from what I could tell – that it was going to be international. As for other countries chipping in, not so much as you might think. E.g. we paid Russia several times over for “their” module; the first payments were used to patch up Mir; subsequent payments went to corrupt Russian officials. Eventually, once everybody had lovely seaside summer mansions, the Russian module got built.

          Had we maintained control of the station, we would have a much more functional station, because the entire structure would be built using the same standards for power, data, etc. As it is there are literally parts of Station that do not talk to each other, and utilize sneakernet to pass data. Why? Because the politicians in their infinite wisdom didn’t see fit to let NASA be in charge, and there was no one authority who could determine specs. So everybody built their modules to their own nationality’s specifications. Ever tried to plug an American hairdryer into a European power outlet? Yeah, that.

          • BinaryWatcher

            …More, the original Station Freedom was intended to be an eventual way station for future lunar missions, including attempts to establish a base.

          • Nedward Marbletoe

            Very interesting first-hand info. Thx.

          • BinaryWatcher


    • Nedward Marbletoe

      Go Moon Base! But ISS is cool, anything up there is cool. Moon Base wouldn’t have the risk of falling out of the sky since the moon is actually orbiting further up each year.

  • Don Haywood

    I thought the actual first words were “Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed.” The “Engine stopped” happened before the LEM artually touched down.

    • darryl

      Those were the first broadcast words. The first spoken words were from Buzz, he said something like “Contact light” Referring to the light on the control panel that lit up and told them one of the lander legs touched the ground.


  • Don Haywood

    I wonder, too, is some off the intercom/radio comments were made as well. Like – F*** that was close.”

  • Plenum

    Point 8: The dropped, “a” in “…that’s one small step for (a) man,…” was NOT due to a shoddy communications system! The communication system was VOICE-ACTIVATED for the practical reason of saving battery power. — If you recall, the transmissions almost always started with a few hundredths of a seconds delay, with a lag-time. [The word “very” would sound like “airy”, for example, but we would understand it, of course, as “very”.] He stated the first part of the sentence, which was with continuous voicing (thus no break, “+voicing characteristic” (mostly) for you phoneticians) then, with a break to say “a man”, BUT THE VOICE ACTIVATION SYSTEM SHUT OFF, and then he continued with “a man”, but the voice-activation delay unintentionally omitted the “a” in “…(a) man…”, but “man” was transmitted in its entirety because the transmission was activated by the missing “a”. — I heard the above in an interview with one of the crew members, years ago, I can’t remember which one – it may have been Armstrong – but it explains the lost word. ((I teach English, and use this example in some advanced classes to point out unstressed/stressed words within the English phonological system.)) Thanks for reading…

    • Maria_Octo

      Listening at the clip above, he did not pause long enough for the “a” to be dropped. He goofed is what he did.

      • Plenum

        Well, I wasn’t halucinating when I saw the interview in which he explained very clearly what happened…. Hmm. And I’ve spent some time today listening to various recordings to the famous moment, and they match the clip above. And, then I located a writer who asked him about the famous moment and he mentions the controversy and not the voice-activated transmission system. Maybe the interview I saw was his technical excuse to avoid saying, “I goofed in one of the most important moments in the history of Mankind.” Anyway, you’re right, Maria, there doesn’t appear to be enough time to say, “a”… no break between. He continues right through from “for” to “man”.

  • Polaris1

    Aldrin’s “OK engine stop” was made when the contact light lit on the panel. The LM then fell the remaining three feet to the surface (a procedure discontinued in the later heavier LM’s). I would suggest that if you’re still moving towards something then you haven’t got there yet. The first words spoken on the moon would therefore have been Aldrin’s “ACA out of detent”. Sloppy research.

    • Dave Gianakos

      My understanding is that Armstrong did NOT feel comfortable shutting the engine off five feet (60 inch long probes on three of the four footpads) above the surface when the lunar sensor probe lights came on for this first ever landing attempt. NASA acceded to his requests, but that meant the LM closeout crews needed to add extra kapton film around the foot pads to protect them from the heat and blowing debris of landing with the engine still operating to the surface. The LM was already stowed inside the adapter in the Saturn V SLA (conical adapter between the third stage and the Apollo spacecraft and it was a tight fit. You can see the extra kapton on the footpads in some photos.

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  • Nedward Marbletoe

    That’s what I heard him say on some interview, that he said it right. Easy to believe the “a” could be hard to hear. Any way it just made the quote more famous. They were some righteous dudes.

  • Nedward Marbletoe

    Best article evah!

    The moon smells like wet ashes and gunpowder, and there’s $200 and 4 days of food stashed up there. That might even be useful someday.

    • Shannon Varga

      Next time I’m feeling hungry I’m going make my way upto the moon for some preserved food

    • Dallas Joe

      Yep.. and they came back from the Moon 1 day faster than it took to get there.

      That was in itself.. amazing.

  • Mikey Doesn’t Like It

    The lengths you NoBama synchophants go to and stupidity you exhibit as you continue to delude yourself into believing that the vote you gave the organizer-in-chief wasn’t a massive mistake just beggars belief! He has continued to prove the case I made since the day he first announced his candidacy. He had no experience that in any way, shape or form qualified him for the office of the Presidency. Everything he has done or tried to do since has proved that over and over. As the Brits love to say “He couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery.” Nixon was a crook but the Watergate break in, such a sensation when it occurred, pales in comparison to the litany of offenses this administratration has and continues to commit and the way they play fast and loose with the Constitution when it suits them to do so. Why is it that you and others like you just turn a blind eye to the criminality and constantly try to point fingers in every other direction to take the spotlight away from the criminal in chief you elected like you have done right here? I’m not saying that Romney would have been any better but at least he had the experience of being a Governor. And one thing is for sure, he couldn’t have done any worse than the clown currently in the white house and the circus of fools supporting him in the legislature.

  • AKP

    What happened to the comments left by “FACTS”?

  • Redhands

    JFK beat Nixon, with votes of the dead in, Chicago. That gave jfk Illinois & WH. Nixon, took US out of V.Nam, was the last Pres. were savings in bank beat inflation, was strongly against fracking because of fresh water & other environmental concerns.
    Nixon, won his second election by a very large margin, but Hillary (not Clinton yet) “found” missing minuets on “WH tapes”. Odd, Bill was working with McCarthy election committee . The tape was from a different machine then the WH one.
    I will concede, I’m VERY disappointed of the slow progress of the US of A’s space program!

  • maias

    Why doesn’t the flag have a shadow? The man’s shadow goes from left to right.

    • Dallas Joe

      Wow.. no one answered you.
      and its been 3 FRICKIN YEARS .
      and you’re Right.
      NO SHADOW.


    • Dallas Joe

      I found more footage !
      a video of authentic moon landing footage;
      which shows CLEARLY ….. strings, attached to BOTH
      “astronauts” , if anyone is interested.

      I cannot post a link… because it ends up being deleted by the mods.

      the video is called :
      Apollo 17 EVA 1 – Return to LM, SEP Deployment, & EVA 1 Close-out

      and if you start it at 21:21 …… you might change your mind,
      about whether or not they fooled you.

  • Wizzy

    Can someone explain to me why Houston asks them questions and the astronauts respond within 1 second?

    It would take at least 3 seconds for the transmission to get to the moon and then back to Earth, not counting the time it would take a human to respond to a question???

    Looking for a reasonable explanation.

    • Dallas Joe

      Its because the Moon landings were ALL faked.

      If you want to see the strings….
      I found a video of authentic moon landing footage;
      which shows CLEARLY ….. strings, attached to BOTH
      “astronauts” , if anyone is interested.

      I cannot post a link… because it ends up being deleted by the mods.

      the video is called :
      Apollo 17 EVA 1 – Return to LM, SEP Deployment, & EVA 1 Close-out

      and if you start it at 21:21 …… you might change your mind,
      about whether or not they fooled you.

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  • Daniel Webster

    They’re right about the word a that changes the whole context of the sentence what this says is thats one small step for mankind one giant leap for mankind when you say just man that typically means mankind

  • Westernboy Ony

    Any can tell meh that how can I contact with NASA plzz

  • Dallas Joe

    I’ve seen old movies of rocket ships,
    that look the same.
    Its just so FAKE.
    Ok NASA, these people believe everything you tell them,
    but c’mon man, you KNOW you’re stealing all that
    Tax payer MONEY.

  • Dallas Joe

    Yeah sure,
    Weightlessness on the moon,
    yet They didn’t float away.

    And shouldn’t the feather have fallen
    at 1/6th the speed ? or at least ,
    the hammer ?

    you can say that not having an atmosphere on the
    moon, would cause the feather to have nothing to
    slow it down…
    but then, you have to take WEIGHT into consideration.
    Heavy things should and WILL fall faster.

    I call BS on this one.
    And if this is BS.. the ENTIRE LANDING
    was FAKE.

  • Dallas Joe

    I always wondered why the capsule, when “blasting” off from the moon,
    in 1/6th the gravity, did not have any THRUST.
    ….. it Simply flashes, and disconnects from the bottom half…
    then…. wooooooop ! Just floats up up and away ! …
    and bobbles like it was on a String, or something…..

    A sound minded person would think, that at 1/6th the gravity,
    there would be more Thrust…
    Whats up with that. ?

  • vixen

    NASA is freemason-controlled deceit; we’re supposed to be spinning at
    66,600 miles per hour around the sun (666); research flat earth.

  • Lorie Franceschi

    Did you know that astronautsdid you know that,astronauts have to go through customs?they also have government passports. Don’t know what type, but not a normal one.


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