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October 01, 2006

He Said (A) Word

Ever since July 20, 1969, there's been a belief that Neil Armstrong, for whatever reason (weariness, joy, alien mind probes from a secret lunar base), misspoke when he first set foot on the moon, saying "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind." While it superficially sounds profound, that missing article "a" between "for" and "man" renders it a rather meaningless phrase.

New research, though, shows Armstrong probably didn't goof.

High-tech detective work apparently has found the missing "a" in one of the most famous phrases ever spoken.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong's first words from the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969, now can be confidently recast, according to the research, as, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

It is the more dramatic and grammatically correct phrasing that Armstrong, now 76, has often said was the version he transmitted to NASA's Mission Control for broadcast to worldwide television.

Found via Pharyngula. For additional fun, if you want to see what dropping all vowels from text can look like, check out PZ Myers' site for a fundamentalist commenter named Jason. PZ has his commenting software set to remove all the vowels (oddly enough, just like that internet chain letter, it's still readable).

Posted by Andy at 11:27 AM





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