Neil Armstrong: Moon Landing Had 50-50 Chance
He gives rare interview ... to Australian accountants
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2012 5:55 PM CDT
Astronaut Neil Armstrong testifies before Congress last year.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Fans of the space program are in for a treat: The normally reticent Neil Armstrong sat down for an hourlong interview about that moon landing of his with, of all outlets, the Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia. Some highlights:

  • 50-50: "I thought we had a 90% chance of getting back safely to Earth on that flight but only a 50-50 chance of making a landing on that first attempt. There were so many unknowns ..."
  • Close call: When Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the moon's surface in the Eagle, the on-board computer was guiding them toward a rocky, steep area. "Not a good place to land at all," says Armstrong. "I took over manually and flew it like a helicopter out to the west direction, got into a smoother area without so many rocks and found a level area and was able to get it down there safely before we ran out of fuel." There was "something like 20 seconds of fuel left."

  • Conspiracy theorists: Sorry, folks, the landing was real. "People love conspiracy theories ... but they were never a concern to me—because I know that one day somebody's going to fly back up there and pick up that camera I left there."
  • Why open up to accountants? Interviewer Alex Malley, chief executive of CPA Australia, explains his scoop: "I know something not a lot of people know about Neil Armstrong. His dad was an auditor."
See the four segments of interviews here, or check out recaps from the Guardian and Fox News.