Buzz Aldrin’s 1969 guide on Moon landing to go on sale3 min read

Buzz Aldrin‘s 1969 guide on Moon landing to go on sale

LONDON: ” Contact Light“, spoken by Buzz Aldrin, and not the historic ‘One small step’ quote by Neil Armstrong, were the first words on the Moon, the guide used by Apollo 11 astronauts has revealed.

The instruction sheets were part of Aldrin’s own manual used while Armstrong piloted the Lunar Module Eagle towards the Moon in 1969.

Aldrin is selling the sheets after a change in the law last year paved the way for Apollo astronauts to retain legal ownership of items they kept from their missions.

The sheets are expected to fetch around 60,000 pounds when they are sold by Bonhams auctioneers in New York on March 25.

The papers include a second-by-second account by Aldrin of the fraught final minutes as the Module approached the surface of the Moon.

It reveals that the first words spoken on the surface were “Contact Light”, by Aldrin to confirm touch down, The Telegraph reported.

A letter by Aldrin which accompanies the sheets describes the moment an alarm sounded when the astronauts were close to landing on the Moon.

“The lunar landing was an experience I will always remember…some eight minutes into our descent engine burn, we started our most challenging part of the landing – the approach phase sequence,” the letter states.

“We were behind on flight tasks due to the distractions caused by the alarms. Neil was monitoring our instruments and the visual view out his window,” it reads.

“Neil’s flying tasks suddenly became more complicated because the computer was sending us into a large crater containing and surrounded by boulders.

“At about 500 feet above the lunar surfaceNeil Armstrong entered the commands to manually fly Eagle to the lunar surface with computer support.

“He slowed the descent rate to just a few feet per second and studied the surrounding terrain.

“Neil asked me about our fuel status and I indicated we had eight per cent remaining. I was then able to glance outside and began to understand why the landing sequence was taking longer than planned – the craters, rocks and boulders seemed to be everywhere.

Mission Control radioed we had ’60 seconds’ of fuel remaining. Then ’30 seconds’ rang in our headsets.

“Neil was almost to the surface when a haze of dust was kicked up by engine exhaust. He could not see the surface and had to locate something just above the dust cloud.

“Finally Neil was able to see a rock that appeared fixed in the stream of dust. This gave him a surface reference.

“Just as Neil placed Eagle gently on the lunar surface, I spoke the first words from the Moon: ‘CONTACT LIGHT!’ This was the indicator light on our control panel that told us that Eagle had touched the lunar surface.

“We only had about 20 seconds of fuel remaining onboard,” the letter says.

 Source: Economic Times

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Sebastien Clarke
Sebastien Clarke

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