So imagine my disdain when, many years later, I learned about the controvery regarding his first transmitted words after stepping on the moon. Did he say "one small step for a man", or "one small step for man"? If the former, there's no problem; if the latter, his comment makes no sense.
Listen to the tapes, however, and it seems he didn't say "a man". Or did he?
Now, after almost four decades, the spaceman has been vindicated. Using high-tech sound analysis techniques, an Australian computer expert has rediscovered the missing “a” in Mr Armstrong’s famous quote. Peter Shann Ford ran the Nasa recording through sound-editing software and clearly picked up an acoustic wave from the word “a”, finding that Mr Armstrong spoke it at a rate of 35 milliseconds — ten times too fast for it to be audible.
Mr Ford’s findings have been presented to Nasa officials in Washington and to a relieved Mr Armstrong, who issued a statement saying: “I find the technology interesting and useful. I also find his conclusion persuasive....”
Officials at Nasa have met Mr Ford to discuss his findings. They have now instructed their own analysts to run in-house tests.
I hope the Australian's right. And don't you just love the British construct of not capitalizing the entire acronym for NASA?