# Why did Neil Armstrong alone, not NASA, end up coming up with the first words uttered on the moon?

"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" (Neil Armstrong)

These words are now firmly established in the history of space travel, and at least according to his bio, was concocted by himself during his journey to the moon. But why was he allowed to do this (apparently without any supervision/approval by his employer, NASA)?

The entire Apollo 11 mission was planned in detail, and they intentionally broadcasted the historic moment live, so there's no doubt that this was a huge publicity stunt for NASA (and by extension the United States). Why didn't anybody think to have a script prepared by someone on the ground in advance so as to make most use of the moment? Nixon even had a speech ready in case something went wrong and the astronauts died; surely someone could have prepared an equally elegant speech for the greatest achievement of mankind. It's interesting because that moment on television probably had the widest audience reach ever; they could've used that moment to spread whatever propaganda they wanted and have it be heard by most of mankind.

...I mean what if the first words to come out of his mouth were "Hail Hydra"? That would've been a catastrophic embarrassment for the US.

• @uhoh Not quite, but I understand the confusion. My main question is why NASA apparently didn't have any thing planned for him to say, given the significance of the moment, leaving Neil Armstrong to come up with his own. – Setsu Nov 17 '18 at 5:11
• I mean, even if he had been given a speech to say, he could've still said whatever he wanted. – Phiteros Nov 17 '18 at 5:18
• @Setsu , I think it's just a matter of "times were simpler then". Nowadays everything would involve huge PR companies and so on. – Fattie Nov 17 '18 at 9:47
• Have you read this? space.com/19119-neil-armstrong-quote-moon-controversy.html – Fattie Nov 17 '18 at 9:47
• @Setsu It’s hard to exercise any authority over an employee who is currently literally on the moon. – 11684 Nov 17 '18 at 13:13

• +1 I'd guess that by the time they get to space, most astronaut have decided that they like going to space and would like to do it again, and so there's probably a strong personal incentive not to do things that would embarrass the space program that would be stronger than any rule would be. – uhoh Nov 17 '18 at 6:37