• Weird History

The Full Story Of How Neil Armstrong Changed History When He Walked On The Moon

Neil Armstrong made history on July 20, 1969, by becoming the first man on the moon, but he didn't brag about his experiences on Apollo 11. Facts surrounding the historic mission are more well-known than the story of the man who took that first step. Armstrong was such a soft-spoken and levelheaded guy - he might have been forgotten if it weren't for his accomplishments in space travel.

Unlike his outspoken crewmate Buzz Aldrin, Armstrong refused to become a celebrity or take advantage of his fame. Neil Armstrong facts reveal a lifelong commitment to flying and acting for the greater good that earned him an opportunity as an astronaut. His humble personality left some people cold, but Armstrong gained their respect and received the commander assignment that would make him famous. His team accomplished its goal with millions of television viewers looking on, despite the persistence of moon landing conspiracies. Armstrong may not reign as one of history's most prominent personalities, but his dedication, commitment, and humility were essential in helping America reach the moon.

Photo:
  • Armstrong Secretly Kept Souvenirs From The Apollo 11 Mission

    Photo: Courtesy of Neon CNN Films

    As much as he didn't enjoy giving interviews or speaking about his thoughts and emotions during the Apollo 11 mission, Neil Armstrong must have felt hidden nostalgia about his time on the moon. After he died in 2012, his wife found a bag in their closet filled with parts from the lunar module and other small tools used on the mission, presumably kept as souvenirs. Experts identified it as Armstrong's McDivitt purse - a white bag crews take into space to store small parts and other loose items they might need.

    Armstrong's bag included an emergency wrench, utility lights, the data acquisition camera, and his waist tether. It wasn't a secret that he took these items; he had to bring them back aboard the command module and inform Mission Control of the bag's presence. But for reasons unknown, Armstrong never mentioned to anyone he had collected and kept the souvenirs.

  • The World Remembers Armstrong's 'One Small Step' Quote Incorrectly, Thanks To Radio Static

    Although Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were scheduled to sleep once the lunar module landed safely on the moon, they were understandably too excited for napping. About six and a half hours after the craft landed and all safety checks were complete, Armstrong pushed open the door, made his way down the ladder, and set foot on the moon for the first time in the history of humanity. He spoke a line remembered to the world as "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Unfortunately, history may have gotten it wrong.

    Fierce debates over whether Armstrong said "a man" began soon after. It's possible he misspoke in his excitement or the radio transmission cut the word out, but Armstrong was so opposed to being remembered as a hero, he refused to clarify what he said. However, one researcher used modern technology to analyze the recording in 2006 and claims their findings prove Armstrong did say "a man."

  • Armstrong Stopped Giving Out Autographs When He Discovered They Were Being Sold

    Photo: Courtesy of Neon CNN Films

    Neil Armstrong refused to become a celebrity and avoided anything that might shine a focus on his personal life. He allowed NASA to use him as a promotional asset for a brief period after the Apollo 11 mission, but then left the space program. Armstrong would retreat every time someone invaded his personal space. He was even forced to get his hair cut at home after he caught his barber saving and selling his hair.

    Despite his tendency to avoid the spotlight, Armstrong was happy to sign autographs for fans and charity fundraising events up until 2003. He allegedly realized people were selling the signed items on eBay and refused to contribute anymore.

  • All But One Of The Still Photos From The Apollo 11 Moonwalk Are Of Buzz Aldrin, Not Neil Armstrong

    Photo: Courtesy of Neon CNN Films

    The memorable photo you see above is not Neil Armstrong, but rather Buzz Aldrin with a tiny reflection of Armstrong in his visor. In fact, of all the photographs taken during the historic moonwalk, only one features the first man to set foot on its surface. Although you can see Armstrong in grainy footage descending the module ladder thanks to an exterior camera, Aldrin failed to take photos of Armstrong during their extravehicular activity (EVA). The only high-resolution, complete image committed to history of Armstrong outside the spacecraft on the moon is a landscape shot featuring a small astronaut in the corner removing equipment from the module, his back to the camera. However, an automatic 16mm camera on the lunar module also captured some frames of Armstrong, and there is a photograph of his leg.

    Although some accused him of bitterness over being No. 2, Aldrin claimed the lack of Armstrong photographs was not his fault. He said Armstrong held the camera for most of the two and a half hours they spent on the moon, never asking for a photograph of himself. Since they had so many tasks to complete, it was not a priority. Aldrin later asserted in an autobiography that he regretted not thinking to snap a better shot of Armstrong, but being such a humble, good-natured guy, Armstrong never held it against him. "I don't think Buzz had any reason to take my picture, and it never occurred to me that he should," Armstrong recalled in James R. Hansen's book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong. "I have always said that Buzz was the far more photogenic of the crew."