The speech that would have been made if the moon landing had gone wrong

This week marks 50 years since the Apollo 11 moon landing, described by former president Barack Obama upon the death of Neil Armstrong as a “moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten”.

But a speech released previously by the US National Archives reveals what the president at the time, Richard Nixon, would have delivered if one of the most celebrated moments in US, NASA and world history had not gone as planned.

The speech that Nixon would have made in the event of Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin being stranded on the moon begins:

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

Written by William Safire who would later become a columnist at the New York Times, it goes on to say:

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

You can read the full speech here (HT Michael Beschloss).

Meanwhile, here’s some wise words from the archives courtesy of Professor Brian Cox for the conspiracy theorists who don’t believe the moon landings ever happened.

Thanks Brian. Even Buzz Aldrin himself agreed.

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