I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul… we’re required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream.
-Apollo mission press conference (1969)
Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.
-First words from the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle after guiding the craft to a landing on the moon at 4:17pm EDT (20 July 1969)
That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.
-transcript of Apollo 11 moon landing
I’m quite certain that we’ll have such [lunar] bases in our lifetime, somewhat like the Antarctic stations and similar scientific outposts, continually manned.
-BBC interview (1970)
Through books you will meet poets and novelists whose creations will fire your imagination. You will meet the great thinkers who will share with you their philosophies, their concepts of the world, of humanity and of creation. You will learn about events that have shaped our history, of deeds both noble and ignoble. All of this knowledge is yours for the taking… Your library is a storehouse for mind and spirit. Use it well.
-Letter to the children of Troy, Michigan on the opening of its Public Library (1971)
I am comfortable with my level of public discourse.
-Declining to be interviewed for a magazine article
The exciting part for me, as a pilot, was the landing on the moon. That was the time that we had achieved the national goal of putting Americans on the moon. The landing approach was, by far, the most difficult and challenging part of the flight. Walking on the lunar surface was very interesting, but it was something we looked on as reasonably safe and predictable. So the feeling of elation accompanied the landing rather than the walking.
-Interview at The New Space Race (August 2007)
…today’s cell phones are far more powerful than the computers on the Apollo Command Module and Lunar Module that we used to navigate to the moon and operate all the spacecraft control systems.
-On the differences between the present and the time of the space race which existed during the Cold War years, in an interview at The New Space Race (August 2007)
Pilots take no special joy in walking: pilots like flying. Pilots generally take pride in a good landing, not in getting out of the vehicle.
-On his famous moonwalk
I’ll not assert that it was a diversion which prevented a war, but nevertheless, it was a diversion.
-Apollo 11 40th anniversary celebration (2009)