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Armstrong lied about ‘one small step’ quote

world Updated: Jan 04, 2013 01:10 IST
Neil Armstrong

The famous ‘one small step’ line uttered by Neil Armstrong after landing on the lunar surface, was not as spontaneous as he had claimed, in fact he wrote it months before flying to the Moon, it has emerged.

Three months after Armstrong’s death, his family has claimed that he wrote the words — to mark the moment he stepped onto the Moon — months in advance and had always intended to include the notorious missing ‘a’ in the speech, The Telegraph reported.

Armstrong, who was 82 when he died in August last year, maintained he decided on the line after landing the spacecraft on the surface of the moon and had said: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”.

Millions who watched him stepping off the ladder onto the dusty lunar surface, however, did not hear the crucial ‘a’ in the phrase — sparking decades of debate over its meaning.

However, a series of new and rare interviews with his family broadcast on BBC Two have revealed that Armstrong scripted his famous words several months before the launch.

Dean Armstrong, the astronaut’s brother, claimed that Neil had asked him to read the famous quote shortly before the Apollo 11 crew left for Cape Canaveral.

Dean insisted that the original phrase, handed to him on a piece of paper by his brother as they played the board game Risk, contained the infamous missing ‘a’, although during the interview, even he dropped the letter as he told the story, the paper said.

Neil always maintained that he’d thought it up after landing, before the walk. Dean’s story rather suggests that he gave it a bit more thought than that.