The Immortal Lie of Neil Armstrong
“That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. That is how Neil Armstrong characterized his first steps on the moon. Or perhaps, his first steps across a stage, in front of a film crew. That line sounds an awful lot like a good movie line after all. Whether or not the U.S.A. has ever actually reached the moon is a hot topic that has been debated for decades, and for good reason. The space race was so much more than a scientific expedition, it was a battle of a communist way of life versus a democratic one. That is why when the astronauts arrived, it was paramount that an American flag be planted in order to assert dominance over the soviets, and the world. On May 25th of 1961, President J.F.K. made it the public goal of the United States to successfully send a man to the moon and to bring him home safely. It was then, according to some scientists, that N.A.S.A. adopted a policy of, “If you can’t make it, fake it” (Moffet). The space program tried, and failed, for 9 years trying to achieve this goal before having to resort to plan B. The men and women of the U.S. were in a frenzy over communism throughout the 1950’s and 60’s. Simply being accused of being a communist could ruin someone’s social life and career in an instant. During this so called “Red Scare” senator Joseph R. Mccarthy of Wisconsin become infamous for accusing anyone of being a communist on loose evidence or a whim. He took down actors, authors, politicians, physicists, singers, athletes, and anybody else who stood in his way. He was eventually called out for his tactics, publicly condemned, and spiraled into alcoholism (“Joseph McCarthy Meets”). But, the damage had been done. Behind the moon landing, the second most important date in the space race was October 4th, 1957. That was the day that Sputnik launched from the Soviet Union. Sputnik was the first satellite to ever orbit Earth. Americans were terrified and the New York Times had to print a story assuring the public that it was incapable of dropping bombs on us (Moffet). Russia’s feat shattered the illusion that America had the best technology in the world.
In 1961, the U.S. severed diplomatic ties with Cuba, and