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
Neil Armstrong: Moon Landing Had 50-50 Chance
Astronaut Neil Armstrong testifies before Congress last year.   (Getty Images)

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. (More Neil Armstrong stories.)

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