An Aussie Computer Programmer Says Everybody Heard Wrong
Neil Armstrong made history both when he stepped off the Eagle
onto the floor of the Moon's Sea of Tranquility, and when he made
his oft-quoted "giant leap" statement.
According to Australian computer programmer Peter Shann Ford,
Armstrong's famous utterance has been misquoted all these
As recorded in the history books, when Armstrong stepped off the
lander he said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for
mankind." He's maintained he thought he'd included the word
"a" in front of man -- and if he didn't, he'd meant to.
That would have changed the statement to "That's one small step
for a man, one giant leap for mankind," making it both
grammatically correct, and of course, much more dramatic.
Ford says he nabbed a copy of the original recording of
Armstrong's 1969 transmission from NASA's website. Using a
computer, he carefully analyzed the original recording and claims
he found evidence of the missing word.
For his part, Armstrong, who has taken great pains to eschew
celebrity since his history-making spaceflight and moon walk,
continues to maintain he said "a man," but has quietly accepted the
version printed and broadcast so many times since.
Armstrong told the Associated Press, "I have reviewed the data
and Peter Ford's analysis of it, and I find the technology
interesting and useful. I also find his conclusion persuasive.
Persuasive is the appropriate word."
How truly remarkable that Armstrong, arguably one
of the twentieth century's most recognized figures, feels no
personal need to "correct" anything.
We're with you Neil. Let everyone argue about how
you "said" it; they all know you're the one who "did" it. And we're
fairly certain that part of history won't change!