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one small step for *man*, or *a man*?

armstrongs first words from the moon one small step

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#1    Karlis

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 11:52 AM

Mystery of Neil Armstrong's missing 'a'

Neil Armstrong's first words from the moon were heard all over Earth, and Earth heard this: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

But Armstrong said immediately after the 1969 landing that he had been misquoted. He said he actually said, "That's one small step for 'a' man." It's just that people just did not hear it. Read more


#2    BiffSplitkins

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:02 PM

Either way, that is one of the most profoundly timed quotes ever. Whether it was 'a' man or not, this quote will live forever in history. :tu:

"The problem with internet quotes is that you cant always depend on their accuracy" -Abraham Lincoln, 1864

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#3    and then

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:11 PM

If he says he said it that's good enough for me.  When I first became aware of this story I was amused that the person at the very front of this most gargantuan endeavor known to man, would make such a very human mistake that would come to be part of the legacy of that moment.  So fitting.....

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#4    Habitat

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:12 PM

I'm not sure in human history there was ever a man under as much attention as he was, at that moment. Before or since. If he made a minor fluff, what does it matter ?


#5    The Mule

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:16 PM

Columbus thought he was in India and gets a holiday....where's the justice in this world?


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#6    Idano

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 11:25 AM

He said it, he should know


#7    First-time Human

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 11:53 AM

Interesting how one singular word can make such a difference..  
If we say it was (the usually accepted) *man* and *mankind*, it's basically saying the same thing. i.e., *man* & *mankind* can both be taken to be referring to humans as a species.
When thought of as *a man* and *mankind*, it makes much more sense...  *a man* suddenly becomes an individual person..
"One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" makes much more sense when considering the enormity of the event.
For me it will always be *a man*

Or am I overthinking this too much?

Edited by First-time Human, 28 August 2012 - 11:55 AM.


#8    Karlis

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:02 PM

View PostFirst-time Human, on 28 August 2012 - 11:53 AM, said:

Interesting how one singular word can make such a difference..  
If we say it was (the usually accepted) *man* and *mankind*, it's basically saying the same thing. i.e., *man* & *mankind* can both be taken to be referring to humans as a species.
When thought of as *a man* and *mankind*, it makes much more sense...  *a man* suddenly becomes an individual person..
"One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" makes much more sense when considering the enormity of the event.
For me it will always be *a man*

Or am I overthinking this too much?
As you write, "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" makes much more sense; and that has been accepted as what Neil Armstrong actually did say. :tu:


#9    King Fluffs

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:46 PM

It's a quote I believe most, if not all people in the civilized world have heard.


#10    Karlis

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:59 PM

View PostKing Fluffs, on 28 August 2012 - 01:46 PM, said:

It's a quote I believe most, if not all people in the civilized world have heard.
Hi King Fluffs -- the quote the world knows is: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

What Armstrong actually said included the indefinite article, "a", thus what Armstrong actually said was:
"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."


Nit-picking? Maybe. B) Below is an axcerpt from the article in the OP


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 Earth heard this: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."


But Armstrong said immediately after the 1969 landing that he had been misquoted. He said he actually said, "That's one small step for 'a' man." It's just that people just did not hear it.


The astronaut acknowledged during a 30th anniversary gathering in 1999 that he did not hear himself say it either when he listened to the transmission from the July 20, 1969, 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 in the world heard the "a", some research backs Armstrong.


In 2006, a computer analysis found evidence that Armstrong said what he said he said.




#11    Taun

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 02:11 PM

The broadcast was a bit staticy (if that's a word) and it seems to have either lost signal strength for a fractional instant right at that moment, or the microphone just didn't pick up the 'a' at the same level as the rest of the statement...

'a man' does make more sense - though I always thought that what 'man' could have meant was 'man' as in the species, and 'mankind' as in civilization... (at least thats what I thought at the time)...


#12    27vet

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 05:15 PM

I remember listening to it on the radio, as there was no TV in S.A. in those days. I always wondered what he meant and it only became apparent years later when the debate started.


#13    Hawkin

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 02:48 AM

To me it's not important what he said. The great feat of landing on the moon and returning to tell about it is the big picture. God Bless Neil Armstrong.


#14    Likely Guy

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 04:43 AM

"That's one small step..."

Was the greatest understatement in history from the world's most modest hero.

They don't make them like that anymore. *edit: add Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins*

Unless today, there exists a super energetic youngster, with all the smarts and energy that will take humankind to Mars in a few generations. That will be another "...giant leap, for all mankind".

Edited by Likely Guy, 29 August 2012 - 05:02 AM.


#15    Walter White

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 11:07 PM

View Postand then, on 27 August 2012 - 12:11 PM, said:

If he says he said it that's good enough for me.
Agreed.

If Neil Armstrong claims he said "One small step for a man", then as far as I'm concerned he said it.

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