The surface is fine and powdery

What are the words Neil Armstrong said right after his famous “one small step” phrase?

“As the – the surface is fine and powdery. I can – I can pick 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.”

Do those sound like famous words to you?

These are the words spoken immediately after Neil Armstrong said “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Did Armstrong say his famous quote while on the ladder? Or while he was on the ground? I imagine he said the phrase, and then stepped onto the moon.

Thus, the first words spoken while standing on the moon is “And the – the surface is fine and powdery.”

Full transcript

The official transcript is available in a 633-page PDF from NASA (AS11_PAO.PDF). Titled “Apollo 11 Spacecraft Commentary”, you can find this quote on page 382.

I came across these transcripts through the amazing analysis done by Nicholas Rougeux and his project “Lunar Conversations: A timeline of the conversations between Earth and the spacecraft of the Apollo 11 mission from liftoff to splashdown.

The graphic at the top of the post is made with the famous footprint image. I was tempted to use this letter known image which includes the astronaut’s foot.

A close-up view of an Apollo 11 astronaut’s foot and footprint in the lunar soil.
Credits: NASA

The text is pulled straight from the PDF of NASA’s transcript. They use such a wonderful typewriter font. I thought the text would look cool set in the original font.

Enjoyed this blog post?

Join the creatives who receive thoughtful Spudart blog posts via the email newsletter

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x