A couple of years ago I heard Neil Armstrong interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air. He was talking about manually piloting the Apollo 11 lunar module in extremely stressful conditions. Terry asked him if he was nervous. He said no, because he was able to rely on his training.

Also, my spouse tells me he read somewhere that Armstrong's heart rate and breathing were monitored, and they really didn't go up during the hair-raising manual navigation.

I have googled the death out of this topic, and I can't for the life of me find this interview. I have saved hundreds of Fresh Air podcasts on my hard drive, and if I knew what date to look for, I would probably find this interview in my archive.

Please don't tell me I imagined the whole interview. It had a big personal influence on my life.

  • $\begingroup$ Heart-rate graph at several points in the mission: i.imgur.com/U71EmmG.jpg $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ Armstrong's heart rate during the landing never went above 95 bpm: books.google.nl/… $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure this was on Fresh Air? I looked through the whole archive without finding it. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Hohmannfan - That's exactly my problem! I googled the heck out of it. But I remember so clearly the conversation he had with Terry Gross. I just can't figure it out. My spouse listened to it too and wonders if I'm confusing astronauts. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ @aparente001 Removed my answer as it was not the one you was looking for. I think it may not exist as your question is among the highest ranking results. Can you tell how sure you are about the exact details? More sure about Terry Gross than Armstrong for instance? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 22:57

2 Answers 2


Here is a Terry Gross interview with astronaut Chris Hadfield about remaining calm in stressful situations. Maybe you are looking for this one?

The only time Armstrong has been on Fresh Air is this, but that is not it. Scott Simon did the interview, not Terry Gross.

  • $\begingroup$ That's not it! Interesting interview, but nothing to write home about. The one I remember had Terry asking about nerves, and the astronaut (Armstrong, I think!) said nerves weren't an issue, his thoughts were, "I've trained for this." $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ @aparente001 I added an interview that Terry Gross did with Chris Hadfield, because you was more sure about Gross than Armstrong. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ I heard that interview when it came out, and I saw it in my recent search. Outstanding interview, but not what I was looking for. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 19:01

There is information about heart rates for most of the Apollo landings (I think this data was recorded for five of the six landings, though I don't have a reference right now for which one wasn't recorded.)

Armstrong's heart rate was elevated for that first landing, up to 150 bpm - see the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal notes at around 102:46:23, including an interesting comment from Aldrin about how some people "jazz up" the tension.

On that first landing lots of things didn't go to plan - computer error reports, a (misleading) low fuel reading, and a surprisingly rocky landing site among them. All of the astronauts were accustomed to dealing with the extra excitement though...

Also there's a graph and other data in an excerpt from the Mission Report.

Generally commanders on the later flights experienced much lower heart rates, they had the benefit of encouragement from the previous successful landings.


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