One small step - Who wrote the line?

Who wrote the famous line that Armstrong spoke on his first step on the Moon?

Looks to me like armstrong did.

But just because that is what he intended to say doesn’t mean he wrote it.

I’ve done a fair amount of reading on the Apollo project, and I’ve met Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins. Although I don’t have a cite at hand (and I’m too tired at the moment to go through a couple of books that might discuss the quesion), I can say with certainty that I’ve never heard anything to suggest that Armstrong didn’t come up with the statement himself. And I feel fairly certain that if there had been such an allegation, I would have heard about it and remembered it.

I may not be a terribly authoritative source, but I am quite confident that Armstrong is the author. Furthermore I seem to recall that he didn’t even tell anyone at NASA what he was going to say in advance.

I believe as far as anyone knows Armstrong composed the quote himself. That’s what he has said, and no one has sued him for plagiarism.

I have nothing official to add, but certainly Neil Armstrong realized that whatever he said would be historic, so presumably he thought long and hard about it.

It was rehearsed.

(Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.)

According to A Man on the Moon, Armstrong thought of the line just before he stepped out of the LEM.

I don’t think anyone was suggesting he stole it . . . just that maybe some NASA exectutive/govt. speechwriter/ whoever had provided the line for him.

I was mostly joking about being sued. However, if someone else had actually composed one of the most famous quotes in recent history, I think it’s a virtually certainty that they would have come forward with the claim by now.

Oh, yeah, just remembered this: Pete Conrad got in a debate with a reporter over whether or not Neil got to pick his first words or not. To prove to the reporter that Neil did, in fact, get to say what he wanted to, Pete wrote down exactly what he was going to say when he landed on the Moon, passed it to the reporter and made a bet that he’d be able to say it. The reporter took the bet, and when Pete landed he said

The gag being that the last step of the ladder was a good 2.5 - 3 feet above the LM’s footpad. See here. You can make out the ladder on the leg on the left, near the flag. (Sorry there’s no one in the shot to give it scale, but trust me, it is a big step.)

Of course, Neil uttered his line as he stepped off the footpad and onto the lunar surface, not as he jumped off the last rung. So his small step really was a small step. In fact, he jumped off the last rung, and then back up, to make sure he’d be able to get back in, before stepping off and delivering the famous line.

Tuckerfan: I know that Neil has given the impression that it was a spur of the moment idea, but I doubt it somehow. Maybe he had a couple of different statements worked up and picked one at the last minute. But at one of the most important moments in human history, I think he was prepared, and not just hoping something would come to him. No cite, just a feeling.

Too bad he blew the line, but it makes him a little more human, doesn’t it? Neil was one of the best test pilots ever, and did lots and lots of things you and I could never do. But making a little slip when speaking in public (to understate the case a bit), something that any of us might have done, restores that human connection we have with him.

IMHO the line as delivered sounds better that the scripted version. It probably does not make as much sense though.