Neil Armstrong’s Famous Words Include a Mistake
The famous words from the Apollo 11 “Journey to the Moon” were spoken by Neil Armstrong after his first step on the lunar surface, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Most people know these words well because the recording is frequently played in everything from TV commercials to training videos. But, depending on your age, you might not know that’s not what he intended to say. He meant to say, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” He apparently said “man” instead of “a man.”
Armstrong was sure he said the “a” but later stated, “Damn, I really did it. I blew the first words on the moon, didn’t I?” Armstrong has since indicated that he intended to say the “a” and when the quotation is written he would prefer the “a” is included in parenthesis: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
There has been great debate over what he actually said. In 2006, a researcher in Australia claimed that the “a” was spoken, but that it was inaudible due to transmission and recording equipment of the time. Using high-tech computer software, he was apparently able to detect the missing word. Other researchers have disputed this claim. Since one theory is that the “a” is inaudible, that will be a hard case to prove. I think another clue is the gap between the words. You can decide for yourself if there was room for an “a” between the words “for” and “man” — I have embedded the video, which includes the famous quote.
Written By: Chad Upton
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