AirTalk for December 31, 2012

Neil Armstrong’s famous phrase called into question

People Look At Apollo 11 Exhibit The Day Of Neil Armstrong Funeral

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Visitors take photographs August 31, 2012 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

It might have been one small step for man, but Neil Armstrong’s historic quote is causing a giant stir over forty years after the fact. That’s because in a recent documentary for the BBC, Armstrong’s brother reveals that the phrase, which the astronaut always claimed was improvised, was actually prepared days in advance. In fact, Dean Armstrong says his brother slipped him a written note with his first draft during a game of Risk. This is an added layer to the aspect that the quote, according to its originator, was intended to be, “One small step for a man,” but the “a” was lost in the transmission.

So, why all this attention paid to a short, simple phrase? Is it just because it was said on the Moon? Or because of the historic importance of the moment itself? What’s your take on this?


Christopher Riley, director of the BBC documentary “Neil Armstrong - First Man on the Moon,” lecturer in science and media at the University of Lincoln

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