Neil Armstrong, a 'Liar'? Please

Astronaut didn't fib about his famous quotation: Andrew Chaikin

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 5, 2013 4:05 PM CST

(Newser) – Neil Armstrong not only made history, he gave us one of the 20th century's most famous quotes—but did he lie about it for years after? At Space.com, Andrew Chaikin is ready to fire that "outrageous accusation" into the stratosphere: "Let’s get one thing straight right now: Neil Armstrong was not a liar," he writes. But a BBC documentary has inspired "screaming headlines" about his "one small step" quotation, saying he came up with it before the 1969 moon-shot and only pretended to invent it during the flight.

The doc's proof: Armstrong's brother Dean said Neil had told him the quote before the mission. Chaikin admits that the astronaut did say his famous remark "evolved during the conduct of the flight," but soon after he wrote in LIFE magazine that "I had thought about that a little before the flight, mainly because so many people had made such a big point of it." What's more, writes Chaikin, "He gave us a quote worthy of the moment, one that will live forever." Which is the point: "Neil Armstrong did right by history. And now we should do right by him." Click for Chaikin's full piece.

This undated file photo provided by NASA shows Neil Armstrong.
This undated file photo provided by NASA shows Neil Armstrong.   (AP Photo/NASA)
In this July 20, 1969 file photo, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. Buzz Aldrin plant the US flag on the lunar surface.
In this July 20, 1969 file photo, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin plant the US flag on the lunar surface.   (AP Photo/NASA, file)
In this July 20, 1969 file photo, a footprint left by one of the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission shows in the soft, powder surface of the moon.
In this July 20, 1969 file photo, a footprint left by one of the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission shows in the soft, powder surface of the moon.   (AP Photo/NASA)
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