“One small step for a man.” Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, forty-two years ago today.
However, Armstrong told biographer Hansen that he composed the phrase during the six hours and 40 minutes between his drama-tinged landing and the time he and Apollo 11 crewmate Buzz Aldrin emerged from their lander, Eagle, to walk on the moon.
“It doesn’t sound like there was time for the word to be there,” Armstrong said in the book. “On the other hand, I didn’t intentionally make an inane statement, and … certainly the “a” was intended, because that’s the only way the statement makes any sense.
“So I would hope that history would grant me leeway for dropping the syllable and understand that it was certainly intended, even if it wasn’t said — although it might actually have been.”