Neil Armstrong vindicated in grammar debate

Posted By on October 10, 2006

Moon LandingA Houston Chronicle article reported on a computer technician that confirmed that Neil Armstrong was the precise and accurate pilot and engineer even in delivering his planned moon landing line — he did not ‘flub’ the line. This month new information was release using computer analysis of the line, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface in 1969. The debate has been whether it was the technology of the time or a botched delivery of the planned phrase that left out the “a.” Neil’s recollection has always been that he delivered it correctly, as the biography “First Man” suggests (see last years review post), it is now “persuasive” (Neil’s words) that Armstrong was correct. (click for an mp3 of the recording)

In recent research Peter Shann Ford of Sydney Australia using computer analysis from his company Control Bionics analysis the original recordings. Ford used his expertise in developing equipment and software that helps physically handicapped people use their nerve impulses to communicate through their computers. Peter Ford’s conclusion, using specialized Canadian sound editing software called “Goldwave,” was that the “a” was transmitted during the “One small step for a man statement.” The “a” lasted a total of 35 milliseconds, 10 times too quickly to be heard” states Ford. When Neil Armstrong was asked for comment on the findings he said, “I have reviewed the data and Peter Ford’s analysis of it, and I find the technology interesting and useful. I also find his conclusion persuasive. Persuasive is the appropriate word.”


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.