Was the walk on the moon one small step for man, or a man? Neil Armstrong’s first words from the moon were heard all over Earth, and people heard this: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
But Armstrong said after the 1969 landing that he had been misquoted. He said he actually said, “That’s one small step for a man.” People just didn’t hear it.
The astronaut acknowledged in a rare interview in 1999 that he didn’t hear himself say it either when he listened to the transmission from the moon landing.
“The ‘a’ was intended,” Armstrong said. “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.” Although no one heard the ‘a’,” some research backs Armstrong.
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. The Smithsonian's space curator, Roger Launius, found it convincing.