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Neil Armstrong
By Sarah Lane
May 29, 2004, 17:01


Topic: Neil Armstrong

ClassBrain Visitor:

Hello! My 4th grade (9 years old) son is doing his first project. He is doing it on Neil Armstrong and he would like to know two questions: 1. Why did Neil Armstrong say the speech "One step for man, one giant leap for mankind." as he was stepping off the ladder and 2. How did he fit in a small ship to the moon? Any help on this would really be appreciated. Thank you so much!

ClassBrain Response:

To answer your first question . . .

Why did Neil Armstrong say the speech "One step for man, one giant leap for mankind?”

There is much debate over what Neil Armstrong actually said that day. If he did say “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, then it would have been wrong. The words “man” and “mankind” both mean humans in general. The correct way to say it would have been “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Most ear-witnesses to the event thought Neil Armstrong said "one small step for man." The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the L.A. Times reported it this way as well. Armstrong, however, has always maintained that he said "a man," and most encyclopedias say the same thing. A man named Al Reinert spent years in NASA's vaults digging up lunar film footage to make the space movie, For All Mankind. After finding the original quarter-inch audio tape used to record Armstrong's words, Al used a digital synthesizer to clean up the radio static so he could use it on the sound track. According to Reinert, "cleaning it up does not truly answer the question. Armstrong did not clearly say `a man' but there's definitely a beat there.” Armstrong has said that he may have mumbled. NASA states that he said ‘a man’.

Regardless of what he actually said, the words were not something he thought up as he took his first steps. He thought them up during the flight to the moon and he decided to say them right as he was stepping out of the lunar module. He was trying to covey the fact that this was a small step for just one man to be taking, but as far as space exploration for mankind as a whole, this was a very large step. He knew this was a great moment in history.

Now on to your second question . . .

2. How did he fit in a small ship to the moon?

There is an excellent article that describes the separation of the Eagle (the lunar module that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin used to land on the moon) from Columbia (the command module) here . . .

Here is a cool website where you can learn all there is to know about this mission:
*hint* - Click on “Spacecraft” on the left for a detailed image of the 3-part spacecraft. This will show you how it was designed to fit humans.

Learn more about Neil Armstrong with the help of Google

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