Armstrong moon line was mine: scientist
July 22, 2009 – 5:44PM
A British scientist claims he came up with astronaut Neil Armstrong’s famous moon walking quote while working at Australia’s deep-space tracking station.
Armstrong uttered the now iconic remark: „That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” when he set foot on the moon 40 years ago.
But Gary Peach, 73, claims he coined what went on to become one of the world’s most well-known phrases while working at Tidbinbilla’s satellite tracking station, near Canberra, which was monitoring the landing for NASA in the United States.
Peach, who is now retired and lives in the southern English town of Newbury, said he was asked by his boss what the Apollo II mission team should say to mark the historic moment they stepped on the moon’s surface.
„One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” Peach replied.
„The day before the Apollo mission, I was doing some final tests on the equipment,” Peach told the Daily Mail newspaper on Wednesday.
„I was approached by the director, a Mr Monkton. He was an American who was in contact with Apollo. I told him I was worried about what would be said when they landed on the moon.
„I thought, being Americans, they might say: `Holy chicken s**t look at all that f***ing dust’. I felt that would not be a suitable thing to be quoted in history books until eternity.
„He asked me what should be said. I had been thinking about this. I told him: `One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’. And I definitely said `a man’.
„What he did with my suggestion I have no idea, but he did leave immediately and at a greater pace than he had entered the room.”
By the time Armstrong’s words were broadcast around the world on TV on July 20, 1969, it was only the word „a” that was missing from Peach’s quote.
Peach said that when he heard Armstrong’s remark, „I was not displeased”.