Mr Armstrong is a legendary figure for being the first man to walk on the Moon, but he was also quite a character. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, the BBC aired a documentary-drama entitled ‘8 Days: To the Moon and Back’. This featured extraordinary footage of pre-mission TV interviews with the astronauts.
Commander Armstrong, along with his colleagues Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, were asked many questions by the media ahead of their landmark trip to the Moon.
As Americans, it was natural for this journey into the unknown to be compared to the explorer Christopher Columbus’ 15th century expeditions across the Atlantic.
One interviewer asked Mr Armstrong: “The accomplishment that you expect to achieve is often compared to that of Columbus.
“How do you feel about this comparison?”
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The astronaut replied: “Columbus wasn’t sure where he was going.
“I very much hope that we won’t terminate at some place that we didn’t expect, on some planet that we didn’t plan to visit.”
This cheeky reply refers to the fact that Columbus had actually been intending to sail to Asia and discovered the Americas by accident.
He had been hoping to find a quicker route to India and China by going the other way round the world, but instead his crew became the first Europeans to land in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
Luckily, NASA was a bit more informed about where they were sending their men than Columbus was.
Mr Aldrin also joked with one of his interviewers, after they said a final “Thank you, Buzz Aldrin”.
The astronaut said with his legs crossed and a smile on his face: “I wasn’t finished.”
The agitated interviewer said: “Oh, let’s back up! Woah woah woah.”
In the footage shown on the BBC’s ‘8 Days’, one on-screen news reporter described the Apollo 11 crew as “unique” and “unusual”.
Apollo 11 took eight days in 1969 to end three men to the Moon’s orbit and two to the lunar surface.
It was a culmination of decades of work by hundreds of thousands of people working across science, technology and engineering disciplines.
In 1973, the total cost of the Apollo programme reported to Congress was $25billion – which is £20billion, or around £323billion in today’s money.
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