Monday, August 27, 2012

The Third Man On The Moon

I so much more like what Charles P. (Pete) Conrad, the third man on the moon said: 

"Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me"

Apparently this was not entirely impromptu. Capt. Conrad had made a bet with an Italian journalist that NASA does not script what astronauts are supposed to utter on this momentous occasion. Here is a snippet from the Apollo 12 Lunar Surface Journal.

 115:22:09 Conrad: Okay. (Pause) Down to the pad. (TV still)

115:22:15 Bean: Okay.

    [After pausing on the next to last rung, Pete steps down to the last one, gets his hands in position and jumps down, sliding his hands along the outside rails as he drops. Once he gets down to the footpad, the bottom rung is about level with his waist. (TV still)]

115:22:16 Conrad: (As he lands) Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me. (Pause)

    [Jones - "I understand that there was a bet on your saying that."]

    [Bean - "Who'd you bet?"]

    [Conrad - "You know who I bet."]

    [Bean - "Nope. I forget."]

    [Conrad - "A reporter, who thought the government put words in our mouths."]

    [Bean - "Oh!"]

    [Conrad - (Laughing) "I also had $500 riding on it, but I never got paid."]

    [Bean - (Laughing) "I didn't know that! Is that right? I kind of remember it, a little. Oh, well."]

    [Jones - "Do you want that story as part of the record?"]

    [Bean - "Put it in. It will be good for the myth. We're trying to create a Conrad Myth. Big Bucks on this. Can't have too many human interest things."]

    [Conrad - "I tell the story, but I don't tell who I bet."]

    [Actually, Pete does occasionally reveal that the reporter was Oriana Fallaci. A more detailed version of the story can be found in Andrew Chaikin's "A Man on the Moon".]

Meanwhile... RIP Neil Armstrong.

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