LOOKING BACK

What were our astronauts seeing, and saying?

Larry Bowers Banner Staff Writer
Posted 1/11/17

Were astronaut Neil Armstrong's actual first words upon setting foot on the surface of the moon "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky"? This urban legend has been circulating since Armstrong walked on the moon. …

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LOOKING BACK

What were our astronauts seeing, and saying?

Posted

Were astronaut Neil Armstrong's actual first words upon setting foot on the surface of the moon "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky"? This urban legend has been circulating since Armstrong walked on the moon. But, is it the truth or a joke the famed American astronaut used for the general public’s consumption more than two decades later.

This tale was distributed online for years, and can be found on any number of blogs and websites accompanied by the claim that it really happened. Others say it didn't happen, and can be easily verified by checking the official lunar landing transcript on NASA's Apollo 11 site (audio and video clips are included).

In spite of the ease with which this part of the Apollo moon landing and moonwalk is debunked, it will doubtless be with us for decades (and generations) to come.

Another legend popular among Muslims, claims that Armstrong heard a voice say "Allahu akbar" ("God is great") the moment he stepped on the moon and was inspired to convert to Islam. Also not true.

Others claimed Armstrong’s "Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky," was not a hoax.

They say that when Apollo Mission Astronaut Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" statement, but also followed it with several other remarks, usual communication between him and the other astronauts, and Mission Control. Just before he re-entered the lander, however, they claim he made his “Mr. Gorsky" remark.

Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs. Over the years many people questioned Armstrong about the "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky,” alleged quote, but he always just smiled without a reply.

Armstrong was known as a jokester, but some of his statements since becoming the first man on the moon have stirred controversies. Some assert he and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin claimed they saw aliens and unidentified flying objects on that first journey (and landing) on the moon. But, “unidentified” simply means something that was not explained, not that it was necessarily alien in origin.

On July 5, 1995, in Tampa Bay, Fla., while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year-old question to Armstrong, and this time he finally responded. According to Armstrong, Mr. Gorsky had finally died, so he felt he could answer the question.

Armstrong said that when he was a kid, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit a fly ball which landed in the front of his neighbor's bedroom windows. His neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky.

He related that when he leaned down to pick up the ball, he heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky. "Sex! You want sex? You'll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"

Was this a little humor Armstrong created from the old rumors, or was it the truth?

According to snopes.com, “Any doubts about the veracity of this legend are laid to rest by the NASA transcripts of the Apollo 11 mission, which record no such statement having been made by Armstrong. Armstrong himself said in late 1995 that he first heard the anecdote delivered as a joke by comedian Buddy Hackett in California.”

Are other stories and comments by former astronauts fact, or fiction? Have our space explorers seen evidence of aliens? Has our government been guilty of cover-ups?

You decide.

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This one we’re sure is the truth. Astronaut John Glenn, who died recently at the age of 95, claimed his greatest hero was his wife, Annie.

Always in the public eye, she had to cope for years with the fact she stuttered.

She told the Washington Post in a 1984 interview, that people often thought she was deaf or special needs, but John always went to bat for her, performing routine tasks in her stead.

In 1973, Annie found an intense three-week treatment program for stutterers; she signed up and called John when she finished. "When I called John, he cried," she said. Annie went on to give speeches during Glenn's Senate runs and became a vocal disability advocate.”

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In December 1965, Gemini astronauts James Lovell and Frank Borman also claimed they saw a UFO during the second orbit of their record-breaking 14-day flight. Borman reported he saw an unidentified spacecraft some distance from their capsule.

Gemini Control, at Cape Kennedy told him he was seeing his own booster rocket. He agreed he could see the booster, but that he could also see something completely different.

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In June 1965, astronauts Ed White (the first American to walk in space) and James McDivitt were passing over Hawaii in a Gemini spacecraft when they reportedly saw a strange-looking metallic object. They said the UFO had long arms sticking out of it. McDivitt allegedly took pictures, but those photos were never released.

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On July 17, 1962, Maj. Robert White reported a UFO during his 58-mile high flight of an X-15. White reported, "I have no idea what it could be. It’s grayish in color and about 30 to 40 feet away."

Then according to a Time Magazine article, White exclaimed over the radio, "There are things out there! There absolutely is!"

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On May 11, 1962, NASA pilot Joseph Walker said one of his tasks was to detect UFOs during his X-15 flights. He claimed to have filmed five or six UFOs during his recordbreaking 50-mile-high flight in April 1962.

During a lecture at the Second National Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Space Research in Seattle, Walker said: "I don't feel like speculating about them. All I know is what appeared on the film developed after the flight."

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Former Astronaut Scott Carpenter has reported, "At no time, when the astronauts were in space were they alone: There was a constant surveillance by UFOs."

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As a fan of science fiction, there are many things I find convincing in my reading ... but in all probability, they’re not real. What about claims attributed to our astronauts? They are our childhood heroes! Would they fabricate such claims?

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