What Armstrong Said Next
Steven Shapin on the Moon landings, from the LRB of 1 September 2005:
Can you remember what Armstrong said next? (‘Yes, the surface is fine and powdery. I can kick it up loosely with my toe. It does adhere in fine layers, like powdered charcoal, to the sole and sides of my boots. I only go in a small fraction of an inch, maybe an eighth of an inch, but I can see the footprints of my boots and the treads in the fine, sandy particles.’) Can you remember anything else that anyone said on the Moon? Can you guess the Last Lunar Words? There’s actually a dispute about this: Gene Cernan distinctly recalls saying ‘Let’s get this mother out of here,’ while the Nasa transcript has him saying ‘Okay. Now, let’s get off. Forget the camera.’ After that, Jack Schmitt is scripted counting backwards from three and saying ‘Ignition’.