- I think we're going to the moon because it's in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It's by the nature of his deep inner soul ... we're required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream.
- Apollo mission press conference, quoted in Of a Fire on the Moon (1970) by Norman Mailer, and in First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong (2005) by James R. Hansen
- That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
- Words said when Armstrong first stepped onto the moon (20 July 1969). In the actual sound recordings he apparently fails to say "a" before "man" and says: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." This was generally considered by many to simply be an error of omission on his part. Armstrong long insisted he did say "a man" but that it was inaudible. It was soon discovered in 1972 that he did say "a man" from a recorded chip from Aldrin. Prior to new evidence supporting his claim, he stated a preference for the "a" to appear in parentheses when the quote is written. In September 2006 evidence based on new analysis of the recordings conducted by Peter Shann Ford, a computer programmer based in Sydney, Australia, whose company Control Bionics helps physically handicapped people to use their own nerve impulses to communicate through computers, indicated that Armstrong had said the missing "a." This information was presented to Armstrong and NASA on 28 September 2006 and reported in the Houston Chronicle (30 September 2006).
- I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises.
- Pilots take no special joy in walking. Pilots like flying.
Presidential Telephone Call
President Nixon spoke to Aldrin and Armstrong during their first walk on the surface of the moon.
Houston: ...We'd like to get both of you in the field-of-view of the camera for a minute. (Pause) Neil and Buzz, the President of the United States is in his office now and would like to say a few words to you. Over.
Armstrong: That would be an honor. Houston: All right. Go ahead, Mr. President. This is Houston. Out.
Nixon: Hello, Neil and Buzz. I'm talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House, and this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made. I just can't tell you how proud we all are of what you (garbled). For every American, this has to be the proudest day of our lives. And for people all over the world, I am sure they, too, join with Americans in recognizing what an immense feat this is. Because of what you have done, the heavens have become a part of man's world. And as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to Earth. For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one; one in their pride in what you have done, and one in our prayers that you will return safely to Earth. (Pause)
Armstrong: Thank you, Mr. President. It's a great honor and privilege for us to be here representing not only the United States but men of peace of all nations, and with interests and the curiosity and with the vision for the future. It's an honor for us to be able to participate here today.
Nixon: And thank you very much and I look forward...All of us look forward to seeing you on the Hornet on Thursday.
Aldrin: I look forward to that very much, sir. (Pause)
- Official NASA Biography
- Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum
- Discussion of the "small step" quote phrasing
- 2003 Armstrong Interview
- Article on Armstrong's Autobiography
- Article on opening of Armstrong Museum
- National Press Club Audio and transcript from 2000 appearance
- "Armstrong 'got Moon quote right'" (2 October 2006) (BBC)