“I was a 14-year-old teenager watching TV and eating pop-corn at my friend’s house when it happened”. This is what Martin Pedersen remembered when Neil Armstrong, the first man, landed on the Moon, and he was so polite to tell us more about it.
Dina: Mr. Pedersen, when did it happen?
M.P.: It happened in 1969.
Dina: Where were you at that moment?
M.P.: It was summer afternoon. I was at the party at my friends’ house. We were eating pop-corn and were waiting for it a lot. Everybody in the country was watching TV at that moment.
Dina: Was it a great international event?
M.P.: Of course, it was one of the most important things in history and our lives. Nobody believed that it was possible until Armstrong touched with his foot the surface of the Moon. Many astronauts before him died in training or during the spaceflights.
Dina: Very interesting! Do you know what Neil Armstrong did there?
M.P.: Their spaceship went around the Moon and one piece of the spacecraft called lunar module descended to the lunar surface.
Dina: Was Armstrong alone or with other colleagues?
M.P.: Armstrong and another astronaut Aldrin went down while Michael Collins, who was later chosen the director of NASA, remained in the spaceship. When Armstrong touched the lunar surface he said his famous phrase: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. It was really great!
Dina: How much time did he spend on the Moon?
M.P.: I think, one hour or less. Everybody remembered him stepping on the Moon, but nobody knew exactly how much time it lasted.
Dina: Was it possible to observe or contact him during the landing?
M.P.: Everybody could hear him. First he said a lot of technical terms, then the first words from the lunar surface were: “The Eagle has landed”. And this was very important for us, millions of listeners and viewers.
Dina: I wonder if Armstrong is famous only for his first landing on the Moon?
M.P.: Personally he isn’t a public man, he is very shy and he didn’t want to be famous. Being the first person to set foot upon the Moon was only a coincidence for him. Aldrin, for example, loves to talk and write about it.
Dina: Did Armstrong publish any book about it?
M.P.: I think he wrote about it in his biography.
Dina: What did this event allow scientists to discover about astronomy?
M.P.: It was extremely important firstly because it was a social, political and cultural event. Secondly, it happened for the first time in the history and of course it allows for more discoveries. It is more important than we can understand. For me the astronauts were always heroes; when I was a child I read a lot of books about them. And certainly I’m proud of Armstrong as the first man who landed on the Moon.
Dina: Thank you very much for your interview.
It’s always interesting to talk to the person who was the witness of some historic event, who can tell us something more than we know. About an important moment in the world’s history – the first landing on the lunar surface by Neil Armstrong.