Neil Armstrong Lied Moon Landing Quote; Brother Dean Speaks On 'One Small Step' Origin

By Staff Reporter on January 2, 2013 12:01 PM EST

Neil Armstrong
NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong poses before the Moon. (Photo: NASA)

"That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." The quote immortalized by Neil Armstrong defined the NASA program, the era of space travel, and a bold, new direction for the United States. However, Dean Armstrong has just revealed a shocking claim 50 years after his brother's moon landing -- Neil had lied about the famous line.

According to Neil, the line was a spontaneous utterance that was unplanned and unrehearsed until he lowered from the space capsule onto the lunar surface. Hundreds of millions of citizens of Planet Earth gathered around to witness the historic Apollo mission.

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Now, in a recent interview for a documentary for the BBC, younger brother Dean Armstrong revealed that Neil actually prepared the quote months ahead of the launch. During a game of Risk, Neil revealed the quote to his brother. Dean shared with BBC that he remembered telling Neil it was "fabulous." Neil said to his brother, "I thought you might like that, but I wanted you to read it."

But why didn't Armstrong reveal that the quote was staged? BBC documentary director Christopher Riley believes Neil Armstrong intended to avoid interference before launch and opted to let people believe that no quote or statement was scripted before a mission.

Beyond whether the quote was planned, the quote faced early controversy when viewers and newspapers heard, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." According to Neil, the quote was supposedly, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Specialists believe the discrepancy is likely due to static in the channel that must have interrupted his "a."

In the end, it shouldn't matter how the famous quote was uttered. The mission was real, the landing was successful, and Neil Armstrong will forever remain one of the most inspiring and one of the boldest heroes in history.

Dean Armstrong's interview with BBC was for an exclusive documentary "Neil Armstrong: First Man On The Moon."

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