Editor’s note: AP reporter Harry Rosenthal wrote this article on the day of the moon landing 45 years ago, capturing the moment when seemingly everyone stopped to watch man take his first steps on another world.
They kept the whole world waiting while they dressed to go out, but once there, the whole world saw Neil Armstrong’s “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Never before had so many been eyewitnesses to such high adventure: Armstrong’s white boot coming down a ladder.
“It’s different, but it’s very pretty out here,” Armstrong said as his eye roamed a vista a human eye had never held - the moon.
The picture was like a nickelodeon of grandma’s time, starkly black and white, somewhat jerky, hard to see. Like a 1920’s movie, but with real life, breath-taking drama.
But it was man first stepping down to the moon.
“It’s a very simple matter to hop down from one step to the next,” said Coach Armstrong. “It’s very comfortable, you’ve got three more steps and then a long one.”
And the world saw, and heard Aldrin - breathing hard from the unusual exertion - go down that last step, and then, for practice, leap up again.
“That’s a good step,” said Aldrin.
“Yeah, a three footer,” Armstrong said.
“Beautiful, beautiful,” Aldrin added.
“Isn’t that something.”
Aldrin reached down.
It was fairly easy, Aldrin reported. He said he got his suit dirty.