Story Behind Neil Armstrong's Famous Line

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Learn the story behind Neil Armstrong's famous line.

Neil Armstrong’s famous first words upon stepping foot on the moon’s surface were “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

He had written the phrase down and shared it with his brother well in advance of the actual event of the moon landing.

Armstrong reportedly practiced his speech before addressing the world as the first man to set foot on the moon's surface.

Neil’s brother, Dean Armstrong, was interviewed as part of a BBC documentary and recalled when he read the now famous words that his brother gave to him on a piece of paper during a game of Risk.

The actual quote from Armstrong at the time of the first moon landing is disputed.

He claims to have said “one small step for a man,” but the audio recording sounds more like he said “one small step for man,” without the indefinite article.

The meaning is changed slightly by the difference.

Computer programmer Peter Shann Ford analyzed the sound waves of the recording in 2006 and found that there was a 35 millisecond sound that registered where Armstrong claims to have said ‘a.’

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