On July 20, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the moon. To celebrate the anniversary of this landmark event, here are five little known facts about the first moon landing...
The Astronauts Didn’t Have Life Insurance The cost for life insurance for an astronaut is extremely high, which isn’t much of a surprise, and is probably even more if they are heading to the moon. Since Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins did not have life insurance to provide for their families if the moon mission failed, they came up with a new plan. The three men signed autographs in the hundreds to distribute among the families, so they could sell them if something went wrong.
Neil Armstrong’s Famous Quote Was Incorrectly Transmitted Listeners back on Earth heard, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." But Neil Armstrong maintained that he actually said something slightly different: "That's one small step for a man..." Armstrong told the press after the Apollo 11 mission, that people just didn't hear the "a". In 2006, computer programmer Peter Ford analyzed the audio recording using software that allows disabled people to communicate via computers using their nerve impulses. In a graphical representation of sound waves of the famous sentence, Ford said he found evidence that the missing "a" had been spoken after all: It was a 35-millisecond-long bump of sound between "for" and "man" that would have been too brief for human ears to hear.
One of the Astronauts Designed the Mission Insignia Astronaut Michael Collins designed the insignia for the Apollo 11 mission. On advice from Jim Lovell, he traced an eagle he found in National Geographic and drew one that was landing on the moon’s surface and holding an olive branch by its beak. Since he thought the talons of the eagle looked aggressive, he moved the olive branch down, so the eagle was holding the branch in both claws.
The Original Tapes of Apollo 11’s Moon Landing Were Erased The films taken by the lunar camera during the landing were lost, according to NASA, probably because they were erased in order to reuse the film. Because the camera used on board wasn’t compatible with television broadcasting, it had to be changed. This made the films seen by those at home on their television sets dark and difficult to make out, instead of the much clearer images filmed on the moon itself.
The President Had a Speech Prepared in Case of a Disaster Richard Nixon was president at the time of the Apollo II moon landing, and everyone was aware that the mission might go wrong and the astronauts possibly would not return, so he had a speech ready in case a tragedy happened. The speech touched on the men’s bravery, how they would be mourned and how others would follow them into space. General Eisenhower also wrote a speech in the event the D-Day invasion wasn’t successful, but fortunately, neither man had to read these speeches.