‘One small step…’: What Neil Armstrong really said

WASHINGTON — When Neil Armstrong first spoke from the moon, he said one thing and people on Earth heard another.

What the world heard was grammatically flubbed: “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”

Armstrong insists he said: “That’s one small step for ‘a’ man.” It’s just that people just didn’t hear it.

Science, and NASA, back up Armstrong.

“The ‘a’ was intended,” Armstrong said in 1999. “I thought I said it. I can’t hear it when I listen on the radio reception here on Earth, so I’ll be happy if you just put it in parentheses.”

In 2006, a computer analysis found evidence that Armstrong said what he said he said.

Peter Shann Ford, an Australian computer programmer, ran a software analysis looking at sound waves and found a wave that would have been the missing “a.” It lasted 35 milliseconds, much too quick to be heard.

Experts at the Smithsonian Institution looked at the evidence and it was convincing, said Smithsonian space curator Roger Launius.

“I find the technology interesting and useful,” Armstrong said in a statement. “I also find his conclusion persuasive.”

And NASA stands by its moon man.

“If Neil Armstrong says there was an ‘a,’ then as far as we’re concerned, there was ‘a,”’ NASA spokesman Michael Cabbage said.

More in Local News

It’s hard to find a parking spot at Wallace Falls State Park

There’s a study under way on how to tackle that issue and others.

At long last, a church of his own

After years of filling in elsewhere, Hallack Greider is the new pastor at Maplewood Presbyterian.

Judge: Lawmakers’ emails, texts subject to public disclosure

News organizations had sued to challenge the Legislature’s claim that members were exempt.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Outgoing councilwoman honored by Marysville Fire District

The Marysville Fire District in December honored outgoing City Councilwoman Donna Wright… Continue reading

Officials rule train-pedestrian death an accident

The 37-year-old man was trying to move off the tracks when the train hit him, police say.

Ex-Monroe cop re-arrested after losing sex crime case appeal

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison but was free while trying to get his conviction overturned.

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Number of flu-related deaths in county continues to grow

Statewide, 86 people have died from the flu, most of whom were 65 or older.

Most Read