Started conversation Dec 8, 2003
One of my earliest memories is being woken by my parents and taken downstairs to watch the apollo 11 moon landing on our small black and white tv. The house was cold and dark, but I will never forget the excitement at this event and being allowed to get up so early in the morning and watch tv. Amazing now in these days of 24 hour total news coverage that such awe and wonder could be inspired in what we take for granted.
Does anyone else recall what they were doing at the time?
Posted Mar 19, 2006
FROM Cy Hunter-Quick in reaction to postings made months ago but still needing an answer I feel.
In UK a sleeping child would be taken downstairs to watch the first fottprint. Eagle had landed in the UK evening. I listened at work on the telephone switchboard of the Western Morning News. My mother had phoned me and put the handset next to the TV loudpseaker. At midnight I went home. I watched TV until Neil and Buzz got back inside and had a kip, and I went to bed.
Elsewhere in all this conversation or whatever it is, a guy correctly said that Neil stepped off the footpad onto the regolith. Correct; James Burke in his excellent pre-action-pieces (so to call them) had explained all that:
Drop from bottom rung of ladder to inside footpad. Hop up again to check ease of so doing. Look at ground and describe same. Step off.
James did not say that Neil would then make a poorly articulated observation in his Wapakoneta slur (or 'twang' as people like to call such sloppy accents) which sad journalists would not understand and would misquote for eternity.
"That's one small step fr'man. One giant leap for mankind."
Poor old Neil! He has since said that the indefinite article was intended. (Obviously it was. There is no difference in meaning between 'man' and 'mankind'. The intended contrast was between one man and the whole of humanity.)
We forgive Neil the innocent and unintended putative sexism of the term 'man'-kind.
Neil Armstrong intended to say:
"That is one small step for me. But it has been made possible by the work (unpaid in university in some cases) of over 400,000 thousand people including far-out leading-edge research and design engineers.
"They have brought about a giant leap in computer hardware and software, micro-electronics compact and cool running, metalurgy, controls, navigation, propulsion, fluid pumps, fire retardents, gas detection, fuels, dynamic and thermal insulation, manufacturing, administeration, site security, food preservation, radio communications transmission power and lock-on digital frequency control..."
Neil could have carried on for half an hour or more adding specialties and applications which evolved onwards to our hi-tech world of today. He then added (or intended to add, in my expanded paraphrase):
"These have already been of benefit to all humankind via new applications per se; and related new jobs, products & profits and related new taxes on same.
"These new taxes have added up to a payback of seven dollars into the coffers of USA Inc. for every one dollar invested by the taxpayer via NASA into the entire spectrum of specialties at the industrial leading edge. This was previous only matched during wartime. Now peacetime has been given a chance and has done a magnificent job, driven by the warrior fever of competition, the only way, sadly or otherwise, that progress ever happens.
"I thank the media in anticipation of their intelligent, informed tibutes to these superbly talented working people of the Human Spaceflight Program division of NASA, with help from our friends around Earth in sub-contracts.
"This responsible media recording of the facts, not the fatuous fancies, will ensure that finance of the wise investment continues so that we complete our prospecting of the resources of Selene, and develop the safe and economical twin-plane launch system and keep the multiplyer-effect, the tax-payback rolling."
But he had to produce a short, impactful bite; always a bad mistake. Journalists do it all the time.
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