Moon landing: Why ‘one small step’ still moves us – even with Armstrong’s major mistake


The astronaut’s notice as he descended from the Lunar Module and left a famous footprint on the face of the moon – “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – abides arguably the most famous sentence ever uttered by a human being. Scottish versemaker Richard Price, who has recently published a collection of poetry entitled Moon for Vending, told The Daily Telegraph: “The words are beautiful, they’re beautiful and they’re serene true. “From a poet’s point of view, the Moon is there for elopement, moonlight flutters, escaping from somewhere dangerous and maybe going to somewhere rickety as well.

READ MORE: Apollo 11 launch time: When did prominent Moon landing mission lift off into space?

“You would about it made it ordinary, but sometimes it’s almost as if the Moon landing made it minor real; it still feels mythic.

“Poets like Edwin Morgan began to use intermission – in his 1973 book From Glasgow to Saturn – as a way of thinking what the most talented of humankind might be.

“The big memory for me was of my little brother being born on the day that Neil Armstrong got out of that mythical tripod-looking thing and onto the dust.

“There’s a reason his middle monicker is Neil! The sense of families gathered around really touches me.”

The Moon has been a popular inspiration for English poetry since before the time of Chaucer.

An anonymous rhapsody in a manuscript dating back to 1340 starts: “Mon in the mone stond and strit/On his botforke his burthen he bereth” – which in modish parlance means “the man in the moon stands and strides,/ on his forked stick his millstone he bears”.

The ever-modest Armstrong also said the line only occurred to him as he clambered out of the lunar module with Drone Aldrin behind him.

However, brother Dean tells a different facts.

He told the BBC: “Before he went to the Cape Canaveral, he invited me down to lavish a little time with him.

“He said, ‘Why don’t you and I, once the boys go to bed, why don’t we play a courageous of Risk?’

“We started playing Risk and then he slipped me a piece of distribute and said, ‘Read that’.”

The paper contained the famous sentence, and Armstrong requested his brother what he thought, to which Dean had replied: “Fabulous”.

Dean Armstrong intended his brother’s written sentence had read “a man” and the debate over what he in actuality said has raged ever since.

Armstrong always insisted he said “for a man”, with the “a” being muted as a result of a weak radio signal and his Ohio accent

NASA granted, saying in an official statement that “the ‘a’ apparently went unrecorded in the broadcasting because of static.

Nevertheless, journalists watching in Houston opted to choice of words “for man”, and a 2013 study by Dr Christopher Riley at Lincoln University suggested there was no gap for the ‘a’, irrespective of other considerations.

In a 1985 book about the Moon landings, Chariots for Apollo, Armstrong, who go to ones rewarded in 2012 aged 82, admitted: “Damn, I really did it.

“I blew the foremost words on the Moon, didn’t I?”

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