July 20, 1969, 10:20 p.m. EDT
Interior of Apollo 11 lunar module

Mission Control: Okay Eagle, you’re go for the module EVA. We’ve established visual of the ladder with the external camera. You’ll be going out on a live feed so watch your step and keep it clean, gentleman!

Neil Armstrong: (Chuckling) Roger that, Houston. Just mom and apple pie.

Mission Control: Appreciated. You can go when ready. We’ve all got our fingers crossed on the dust issue.

Armstrong: Come again Houston. The what?

Mission Control: The dust.

Armstrong: What do you mean, the dust? What are you talking about?

Mission Control: Well, apparently there’s a chance the dust is pyrophoric and that when you open the door of the module, oxygen will react with the dust and explode.

Armstrong: Oh… okay. Wow… was that in the simulations? I don’t remember it.

Mission Control: There’s been some discussion with some geologists here today—we probably should have done that earlier—but you know how it is.

Armstrong: Mmm …

(90 seconds of silence.)

Armstrong: (to Buzz Aldrin) Gee, I feel kind of guilty now, having you be first. But the suit should protect you.

Aldrin: What do you mean? You’re going out first.

Armstrong: No, it’s you. I talked about this with Gene when you were asleep on the way out here. We wanted to reward you for all your service.

Aldrin: How dumb do you think I am? You did not talk about this with Gene. You’re the mission commander. The commander takes the lead on everything.

Armstrong: You’re right. I’m commanding you to go out first.

(30 seconds of silence.)

Aldrin: I didn’t sign up for this. Let’s decide this fairly. Rock, paper, scissors.

Armstrong: No, I’ve seen your rock, paper, scissors tricks—you always lag behind by a half-second.

Aldrin: We’ll flip a coin.

Armstrong: We don’t have a coin. And it would take forever to come down. I’ll pick a number between one and ten and then you try to guess it. If you’re right, I’ll go out.

Aldrin: You’re giving me a ten percent chance?

Armstrong: That’s under Earth gravity. It’s different under moon gravity—you have a 50-50 chance.

Aldrin: Okay… well… I guess seven.


Aldrin: I got it didn’t I?

Armstrong: … No.

Mission Control: Neil, Gene says to suit up and get out there. The meter’s running. You know the audio feed is still on don’t you?

Aldrin: The commander is commanded! Not to mention a liar.

- - -

July 20, 1969, 11:16 p.m. EDT
Moon surface

Aldrin: This feels so weird! The powder is slippery. (Jumps up and down.)

Armstrong: Stop it…

Aldrin: Look, my shoes are made of flubber. (Lopes around in high bouncing steps.)

Armstrong: Is your mike off?

Aldrin: Yes. You realize “man” and “mankind” mean the same thing don’t you?

Armstrong: I said, “a man. One small step for a man.”

Aldrin: Whatever. I thought you’d be in a better mood after not blowing up. (Begins jogging circles around Armstrong in slow motion.)

Armstrong: You need to quit prancing around. Start gathering dust and rocks. They want all kinds of samples.

Aldrin: Yes, master. (Takes a few steps and then kneels.) What in the hell… ?

Armstrong: (Comes over) What do you see?

Aldrin: Doesn’t that look like… droppings? From an animal?

Armstrong: It does, but that can’t be right. ( Removes a sensor from his belt and inserts it into one lump. ) Well, it’s warmer than the dust it’s sitting on, which makes no sense. ( Probes it with finger of spacesuit. ) Feels a lot like… dog… (gags).

Aldrin: Oh no. Don’t throw up in your mask because then I’ll throw up.

Armstrong: (Steadies himself with a few deep breaths.) Okay. If this thing is organic in any way, they’ll want to analyze it. Put it in your sample bag.

Aldrin: I’m not touching that, even through a spacesuit.

Armstrong: Well, use something to scoop it up with. Where’s that Nixon plaque?

Aldrin: It’s bolted to the ladder back on the thing. What are those… ? (Points to tracks leading away from pile.) Holy Christ on toast. Let’s get out of here.

Armstrong: I’m with you… Hang on—the camera’s going to be pointing this way when we plant the flag. (Erases tracks with his foot.) Apollo 12 can deal with this.

Mission Control: Neil, your audio signal’s been going in and out. Did you find something?

(Both men freeze and stare at one another.)

Armstrong: No, Buzz and I were clowning with you. Did you buy it? (Hits button on helmet.)

Aldrin: So your mike—

Armstrong: Save it.

- - -

July 21, 1969, 8:54 p.m. EDT
Interior of lunar module

Aldrin: I can’t believe you wouldn’t do the Iwo Jima thing with me when we planted the flag. When are we ever going to be back here?

Armstrong: I’m not going to act like a 10-year-old. And I saw you do the “hammer throw” when you thought I wasn’t looking. If we end up needing that to pound something, you’re going out and looking for it.

Aldrin: We won’t need it anymore. It’s just dead weight. I bet I got more than 500 yards on that toss.

Armstrong: If NASA comes breathing down my neck, you’re going to answer for it. It comes out of your paycheck.

Aldrin: Fine, fine, fine… so… about those things we saw. Not a word?

Armstrong: Nobody needs to know.

Aldrin: What about Mike, when we rendezvous? Shouldn’t we let him in on it?

Armstrong: No way. He tells his wife everything. It would be on the front page within 12 hours. Now get locked in. When NASA gives the word, I have to push the button with almost no warning.

Aldrin: (Peering out window at moon surface) Goodbye, magnificent desolation… Oh my god. Here it—

Armstrong: What?

Aldrin: Push it Push it Push it.