LISA MALONE, KENNEDY SPACE CENTER: Thirty years ago today the historic Apollo 11 mission was launched at Kennedy Space Center, using the same consoles you see behind me that are now on display here at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center. There were 11 piloted Apollo missions between 1968 and 1972, six of which landed on the moon. Twelve 12 humans have spent 57 hours walking on the moon, and brought back to Earth 852 pounds of lunar samples.
Today we are joined by four of the Apollo astronauts, and from your left to right we have Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 spacecraft commander and of course the first human to set foot on the moon; Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 lunar module pilot -- the second human to set foot on the moon; Eugene Cernan, lunar module pilot on Apollo 10 which came within 50,000 feet of the surface of the moon as a dress rehearsal for Apollo 11. But he didn't miss out: Mr. Cernan became the last man on the moon in 1972 as the commander of Apollo 17. And we have Walt Cunningham, the pilot of Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo flight, launched in 1968.
These gentlemen have kindly agreed to make themselves available today as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Apollo 11. We're going to take about 25 to 30 minutes of questions. Please identify yourself by name and agency and wait for me to call on you, and if you would please direct your question to a specific individual.
And we'll start with Marcia Dunn of Associated Press. Go ahead and talk.
QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong, many would agree that you gave the most eloquent and enduring speech when you stepped onto the moon, and I think if you could share with us how and when did you compose the "one small step"? And could you settle it for once and for all, was there an "a" before the word "man"?
ARMSTRONG: I didn't think about that until after landing, but after landing I -- actually having been somewhat surprised at the fact that we were able to make a successful touchdown, I realized I actually was going to have to say something. But it -- there wasn't anything very complicated: when you just think about stepping off, why, it seemed to follow.
The "a" was intended. I thought I said it. I can't hear it when I listen on the radio reception here on Earth, so I'll be happy if you just put it in parantheses.
MALONE: Bill Harwood, CBS News.
QUESTION: I have a question for Mr. Armstrong. Chris Kraft, the flight director in Houston so many years, once likened the Apollo program to the pyramids of the 20th century, and I was wondering when you look back on this (INAUDIBLE) Apollo 11 in the context of how do you view the significance of that program (INAUDIBLE) your landing on the moon and (INAUDIBLE)
ARMSTRONG: I'm not sure I understood the question.
MALONE: Summarize that again, Bill.
HARWOOD: Yes, Chris Kraft said that Apollo 11 (INAUDIBLE) successfully symbolized the equivalent of the pyramids for the 20th century, and I was wondering how you view the significance of your flight in the historical context?
ARMSTRONG: Well, in the sense that the objective was achieved by the contribution of a lot of blocks underneath it, that's certainly true, because each flight did as -- about equal contribution to the progress of the program as a whole. And actually, as the flights went on beyond 11, I think they got increasingly efficient in gathering more information and more science. So probably the flights after 11 were more scientifically rewarding, but 11 happened to be the one that the president had enunciated, and so we got a lot of fame for that.
MALONE: OK, we'll take a question on the other side of the room. Miles O'Brien at CNN.
QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong you're a very private person, you relish your privacy: have you ever over the years since your landing wished you could have traded the opportunity to be the first to land on the moon for the opportunity to lead a life with fewer public demands?
MALONE: Jim Slade in the very back -- Jim.
QUESTION: Jim Slade of ABC -- Neil, we've asked this same question to the other three gentlemen there with you, and I'd like to hear your opinion: is there a compelling reason for this country to go back to the moon?
ARMSTRONG: There's a compelling reason for society to go back to the moon. That case will not be made by me or any of us here actually, it's being made by scientists and technologists around the world who are developing increasingly better reasons to go back.
SLADE: Are you disappointed that we have not been back as a society?
ARMSTRONG: Yes, I left a few things up there.
MALONE: Tony Whitten (PHONETIC) at A.P. Radio.
QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong, a question very much along similar lines: do you regret or are saddened by the fact that there's a whole generation of school children for whom your entire mission is nothing more than just a picture in a history textbook, that there isn't anything currently planned beyond just going around in Earth orbit?
ARMSTRONG: Well, I guess all of us would like to see more things going on than are going on -- more new starts. We'd like to be doing more. But the kids, I find, are pretty enthusiastic about what we did. The regret on our side is that they used to -- some years ago they used to say, "We were reading about you in science class." And now -- then it was, "We're reading about you in history class." And now I think it's early American history.
MALONE: OK, there was...
BUZZ ALDRIN, APOLLO 11 ASTRONAUT: The fact that all you people are here seems to me to make it a good bit more than just a picture in a history book.
MALONE: There's someone in the middle over here from Ohio -- the blue shirt.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Your great words about one giant leap for mankind 30 years ago, now, looking back, what would you say should be -- looking forward, I should say, what would be the next great leap for mankind?
ARMSTRONG: Well, the nearest one coming up may be Chandra, if it launches -- I forgot, Tuesday? Tuesday, I think. That might be the next one; Certainly, the International Space Station is one. If I were to pick one that was important to me, it would be going to Mars.
MALONE: OK, we'll take a question. Mike Cabbage (PHONETIC), "Orlando Sentinel" over here.
QUESTION: My question for Mr. Armstrong also. Tuesday morning, Eileen Collins is scheduled to become the first woman to fly the space shuttle. Do you think this is something that's been too long in coming, and do you think women should have been allowed to command missions back in, say, the Gemini, Apollo missions?
ARMSTRONG: Well, we didn't have anybody in our cadre at that time -- we didn't have any ladies in our cadre, so it wasn't a choice that was available to us. From everything I've heard, Eileen Collins is a very well-qualified, very experienced, very able commander, and I'm sure she'll do just a superb job.
MALONE: OK, questions here? Let's see -- there's one right there.
JIM McDADE: Mr. Armstrong, most of us were here last October when John Glenn returned to orbit. If Dan Goldman called you in the morning and said he was ready to pack up another Saturn V up. Would you take a ride?
GENE CERNAN, ASTRONAUT: You have a lot of competition to get there, I'll tell you what. I don't know what his answer is, but he's going to have to run fast to the pad.
CUNNINGHAM: We're younger and maybe tougher.
ARMSTRONG: I think you''re right, I think it would be a race. I don't think he's going to give me that -- he'll probably say you have to be 80 to go, and so maybe we'll talk again.
MALONE: There's a question here: the local "Florida Today" newspaper.
QUESTION: My question is also for Mr. Armstrong. I guess most of our questions are for you because you're the person we've probably heard from the least over these years. My question is: How have you balanced privacy and, perhaps, the obligation to history, that so many people do want to know your thoughts, do want to know your recollections for history, but then you're desire for privacy? How have you balanced that?
ARMSTRONG: Well, from my perspective, I've shared those thoughts a great deal over the past 30 years, in many forums, and a lot of press conferences over the years, and a lot of interviews with historians and technical writers, and really quite a few press conferences. So I -- I think I probably already said more than -- more than I have up here.
MALONE: OK, let's see, Beth Dicky (PHONETIC).
QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong, what would you say is the lasting legacy of Apollo?
ARMSTRONG: I think these guys might speak more eloquently about that than I. I have heard each of them do so in the past. In my own view, the important achievement of Apollo was a demonstration that humanity is not forever chained to this planet, and our visions go rather further than that, and our opportunities are unlimited.
MALONE: OK, there's a question way in the back -- Steve Rodinerro (PHONETIC).
QUESTION: Neil, is it surprising to you that there is this much interest and this much passion, still, for what you and Buzz did 30 years ago?
ARMSTRONG: I guess it's a pleasant surprise. We, in the pursuit of our daily activities, tend to get away from the -- the memories of three decades ago in which all of these -- the days when all of these guys were completely immersed in trying to reach a goal, and did so. I -- maybe I could ask my colleagues if they've got a thought on -- on that. Anybody?
MALONE: Anyone care to respond?
ALDRIN: What was the question?
CERNAN: Are you surprised that all of this attention is being paid to the anniversary of Apollo 11?
ALDRIN: I don't think so. We have a millennium coming up, and 30 years is -- is a good round number. I think there's some -- some changes coming about, some new decision that maybe need to be made about the directions we go. So I'm not really at all surprised. I think each -- each five-year period is going to gather more people in the communication business and it's very hard to satisfy everyone who wants a little bit of an expression.
CERNAN: Let me tell you something that I -- that I find going around in the country today, particularly with the young people. And I've had a chance, I think, to immerse myself in that group over the last several months and year or so.
We used to get the question of: Why are we going to the moon, and why are we spending all of this money? And what good is it? I've got my washing machine, I got my telephone, I got my automobile, why do I need more technology? The questions I'm hearing now from people, from young kids in school, as well as their moms and dads who were in knee pants like Lisa was when we went to the moon, is: Why did we quit? Why don't we go on? And when are we going back? And how does it feel to be the last man to have walked on the surface of the moon almost 27 years later? That's the mentality. That's the excitement. That's the interest out there.
And the legacy that's left is not so much what we did, but why we did it and under the circumstances that it was done. And if we can convince these kids that nothing in their life -- if Neil can walk on the moon, if Buzz can walk on the moon -- if we can do what we've done, or have been lucky enough to do what we've done given the opportunity that we have had, these kids ought to take the word "impossible" out of their vocabulary. There isn't anything they can't do if they challenge themselves and we give them the opportunity to do it.
That's the -- I think it's taken 30 years, longer than most of us thought. But it's coming around, and watch out because this next generation of kids is going to the take this country places that we never dreamed of.
CUNNINGHAM: I would add as a legacy, as I look...
MALONE: Go ahead, you can continue.
CUNNINGHAM: As I look out at the faces of this press conference, which is a larger press conference than I, personally, have seen in a long time -- thank you, Neil and Buzz -- I can tell that some of you are old enough to have experienced that first lunar landing. And I dare say, in the 30 years since that time, you have never, ever had the same feeling that you had at that moment. When Neil and Buzz first set foot on the moon, they literally set foot on a, you know, a body in the universe away from the earth, every one of you felt different inside.
When you asked today what it was like, you're thinking back, those of you who are old enough to have experienced it and not just read about it -- you're thinking back to that feeling that you had when Americans could do anything, anything they set their mind to, something as impossible as going to the moon. And think what the next generation is -- as Gene just mentioned -- think what they can do when they can take for granted something so wondrous as man going to the moon.
MALONE: OK, there's still questions here in the middle, and the guy with the hand up, right over there.
KIPP TEAGUE: Mr. Armstrong, many of your colleagues have published autobiographies and memoirs detailing their lives not only during Apollo but prior and after. Do you have one in the works, a memoir?
ARMSTRONG (to Malone): A memoir...?
MALONE: Are you writing a book about yourself...?
ARMSTRONG: I -- no, I'm not at this time, anyway.
MALONE: OK, let's see, there's -- right here, standing up.
QUESTION: I'd like a quick response from each of you on your prediction for when mankind will first set foot on Mars.
ARMSTRONG: Why don't you start.
CERNAN: I'll stick my neck out. I stood here in 1972 right at Kennedy and said: Apollo 17 is not the end. It's just the beginning of a whole new era in the history of mankind. Not only are we going back to the moon, but we're going to be on Mars, on the way to Mars, by the turn of the century. My glass is only half full, but I happen to believe this with a deep passion, that the crew that's going to take us to Mars are in our grammar schools today. They're your kids, they're your grandkids, they're you're nieces and your nephews, but they're alive and well today and they're the ones, given the opportunity to determine their own destiny, that are going to make it happen.
CUNNINGHAM: I took part in a study in 1970 in which they were looking for the next goal for NASA, out of which came recoverable launch vehicles, recoverable spacecraft.
But one of the alternatives, one of the three alternatives at the time was to go to Mars. And you know what the time frame for that was? It was 1984, was the target if they had accepted that program. They obviously didn't. The cost was prohibitive, considered prohibitive.
But today, we fail not because our inability to do something, we fail today because of our in unwillingness to tackle it in the first place, and that's what we suffer from today, because we are unwilling to take chance, stick our neck out and go do some of these things.
ALDRIN: I think it's very crucial, when we think about going to Mars that we think very carefully and commit ourselves to a growing permanence, to put together the effort that it takes to get there once, twice, three times, and then turn our backs on it would be very sad to me, and I would not like to see that happen.
Therefore, I really think we need to tackle the problem of reducing the launch costs, and building the kind of reusable spacecraft and rocket systems that will enable us to do a proper job about going to Mars, and to me, that means a mostly reusable heavy lift craft.
I could see that growing out of a flyback booster for the shuttle. I could see that particular reusable first stage orbiting a reusable orbiter that takes an economic number of passengers, 80 to a hundred people, and a whole new industry of adventure travel opening this up to lots of people through lottery techniques.
To me, that is the key way of progressing back to the moon in preparation to going to Mars, and I really think that can be done by a reasonable 50 years from the time we got to the moon. That's 20 years from now. That certainly is a doable, but we can't sit around on our hands. We've to start doing some things right now, otherwise we'll design a replacement shuttle that will be incapable of supporting, during its lifetime -- and the shuttle is going to be around for a good while, and the next generation shuttle is going to be around for 20, 30 years.
We'll never get to Mars unless we design an adequate, next generation shuttle.
ARMSTRONG: All right, just to finish that question so that we -- because you asked all of us. I think Buzz's number is as good as any. We could do it 20 in we committed to it today. So the real question is, when are you going to commit to it? And that's a much tougher question.
MALONE: OK, please identify yourself by name and agency, if I don't call on you. There is a guy who has (OFF-MIKE) glasses.
QUESTION: Yes, Rory O'Neal, Metro Source Radio.
Mr. Aldrin, I wonder if you could give us a little bit of the background into the conversations going on as you decided who's going to be the first one out the door?
ALDRIN: We didn't have any conversation about that. It was decided long before we left at all, a couple of month.
O'NEAL: No last minute wrangling?
ALDRIN: Well, it might make a good story, flipping a coin in lunar gravity, but that just isn't the way...
MALONE: OK, the guy right behind you. There we go.
QUESTION: Jim McDade, WACV Talk Radio.
Buzz, the -- a lot of the TV cameras in this room are technological descendants of that little black and white camera that you and Neil set up on the moon. NASA Public Affairs loves to promote space flight (INAUDIBLE), but the sad fact is the public perceived all of you guys as the equivalent of Magellan or Columbus, in our time. The sad fact is, the stuff in the historical display seems to be more on the past today.
The shuttle is doing very important research and basic work. But what sort of vehicle do you think we are going to have to -- I know they're is talk about the X-33 -- you know, the planes that -- do you guys think we will ever go back to liquid-fuel rockets of the '60s?
ALDRIN: Well, I certainly hope so. They are much more reusable than solid-fuel rockets. They're much more reliable, in my estimation, and you can test them, and reflight is a much more satisfactory thing to contemplate, I think. I just can't imagine bringing a solid rocket back and having it have jet engines and then land on a runway. That just doesn't seem reasonable to me.
MALONE: OK, we'll go with Peter King at CBS Radio.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) question for both Neil and Buzz. The way the Apollo crew have often tried to really express themselves, in terms of how much you really enjoyed yourself while walking on the moon. I think (OFF-MIKE) is a great film, great example of that. You guys were very workmanlike, you know, this is (OFF-MIKE); we've got to get it all done in two-and-a-half hours. Would both of you tell us, what would a joint experience and (OFF-MIKE)?
ALDRIN: To do it again, I'm sure would have meant a lot less pressure, responsibility, and all those things that tend to focus your attention on not making mistakes, and we all like to look good, I'm sure, regardless of the circumstances. And, to me, anyway, I think that puts a lot of pressure on us.
ALDRIN: I know. I guess I enjoy a certain amount of pressure when it's over with, but I'm not sure that I enjoy it in the process.
KING: Mr. Armstrong.
ARMSTRONG: Well, we had very little time and they, you know, a couple of hours and they'd outlined a lot of tasks for us to do, and we didn't want to disappoint. We tried to get everything in we could. I think -- I watched Buzz out there trying different kinds of locomotion methods on the surface, which, incidentally, was his responsibility. He was supposed to do that. But I suspect that he was having more fun than I was.
ARMSTRONG: Because I was hauling rocks at the time.
MALONE: John Zarrella at CNN.
QUESTION: For any one or for all of you: Was there any one defining moment in your mission that you hold on to more than any other moments, or was it the total event that you remembered the most?
ALDRIN: I'd vote for touchdown.
CUNNINGHAM: I would make a different statement about the whole experience. It happened over 30 years ago now, for Apollo 7, and I have to tell you that most of it escaped me. I did not really capture it so much as memories as a job. I did -- I was concerned, as Buzz says, about making sure I didn't make a mistake, and in all honesty, if I didn't have some of the photos and some of the tapes or occasionally to look at, I'm not sure I have honest memories anymore.
I have memories of the pictures that I have of it. I mean, the pictures become my memories, as opposed to what I think about being there.
CERNAN: Unlike Buzz, touchdown, we -- it was dynamic, certainly, but a lot of things were going on, the heart beating fast, a lot of apprehension, and you touchdown and, boom, you're in the middle of a silent world, and the dust is gone, and yet, I didn't have enough time to really enjoy that.
What I remember perhaps most was is starting up that ladder and looking over my shoulder and looking at those footprints down there and realizing that they were really mine and that there weren't going to be any for a long time to come. And if I just lifted my gaze a little bit, and looking over my shoulder, on top of the mountain was the Earth, was home, was a beauty, which is always overpowering. I think anyone who's seen it in that light just can never forget -- take that memory out of their mind.
ARMSTRONG: For me, it was -- the entire thing was a highlight, and there were many spectacular moments. But for me personally, the most satisfying event was the final descent.
MALONE: OK, the lady with her hand up....Yes, go ahead.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) NBC News and "Newsweek."
Neil Armstrong, do you think that if the first moon walk had come at a less turbulent time in American history that it would have moved a larger and maybe sustained further exploration better, that it was a bit of a historical misfortune that came at a time when the country was so divided.
ARMSTRONG: I don't know how to answer that. You know, we were completely focused, immersed in our project, and we didn't really have the opportunity to spend much time on what was going on in the world around us at that time. I suspect many of you who were around at that time period would be in a better position than we would to answer that question.
CUNNINGHAM: My thought would be that with all the turmoil, the racial turmoil, the war on poverty, Vietnam, all of those things going on at that time, that, in fact, one of the reasons that people were so attracted to Apollo and the lunar landing was that it was a highlight. It was something to be proud of, not to be depressed about, not to be complaining about. It was something the whole world could take pride in.
MALONE: OK, Dan Bellow (PHONETIC) at Channel 2 in Orlando.
QUESTION: I'm back here, Dan Bellow.
Mr. Armstrong, I'm curious that on that day 30 years ago today when you lifted off, I'm wondering how confident were you? Did you feel at that time that you would actually accomplish this, that you would land on the moon successfully and come back? Did you feel that that was pretty well going to happen or not?
ARMSTRONG: Well, my own feelings wouldn't necessarily mirror the statistics that had been provided to us for -- from the people that study that kind of stuff, but my gut feeling was that we had a 90 percent chance of -- or better -- of getting back safely and a 50 percent chance of making a successful landing.
CERNAN: Of course, I don't think Neil had read that recently published potential press conference that President Nixon were going to hold. (LAUGHTER) It might have had a different impact.
MALONE: OK, we'll take one, this in the -- you've had your hand up awhile. Go ahead, white shirt, identify yourself.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) MIT News Office, Could you each address those people in the Apollo program ministry and government that you feel were most responsible for the success of the Apollo, specific names that you can think of?
ALDRIN: Oh, boy. I don't think you can single out people. There were so many different categories. From MIT, there were great contributions from navigation and guidance. From other places -- certainly the rocket launchers and their evolution, the -- the gutsiness of deciding to go with hydrogen fuel in the upper two stages, designing the life-support systems, the whole progression of starting with -- with Mercury, putting in a holding program called Gemini in between, with the different objectives that it had that led -- led to the necessary -- qualifications..
ARMSTRONG: I agree -- I agree with Buzz completely. You think about the guy that did the cavitating venturies in the LM or the guy that did the little -- designed the little pump in the backpack that pumped water or the guy in the service module engine, with those great nozzle controls. All those things were new that had never, ever been done before. To pick out which of those guys -- all those guys were key, because without each one of those guys we might not have done it.
ALDRIN: It's a big list.
MALONE: OK, we'll talk a question from Mark Correau (PHONETIC) from "The Houston Chronicle."
QUESTION: Yes, Mr. Armstrong, do you still think every day that being the first man on the moon is something that you think about when you wake up each day or go to bed at night and -- or do you have a perspective on that event in your life that you can tell us about a little bit? Or do you wish it hadn't been you or are you glad it was you.
ARMSTRONG: I'm delighted. I'm delighted to work with these guys, I'm delighted to be in that project, I'm delighted with the success we had, but I don't think about it on a day-to-day basis -- probably only when you guys remind me.
MALONE: OK, we'll take a question over here -- Stefano (PHONETIC).
QUESTION: Stefano (OFF-MIKE), Popular Mechanics. Mr. Armstrong, when you first landed on the moon, your pulse was about 160 beats per minute. Was that excitement from being on the moon or was it because you were worried about you were low on fuel?
ARMSTRONG: That's about my normal heartbeat when I'm landing a craft. And we had a lot of records from -- on my days on the X-15, and when I was landing the X-15, I -- I was running around 160, something like that. That was typical. If I were down at 120, I'd be worried about whether I was really interested or not.
MALONE: OK, we'll take a question over here -- Phil Chin (PHONETIC).
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) chime in also. You've been asked a lot about walking on the moon, but as pilots what was your thought as a test pilot as you landed on the moon, and what were your feelings as a human being now that you accomplished this great goal (OFF-MIKE)?
ARMSTRONG: I doubt that my feelings were much different from these guys as they went through specific points on their individual flights that were important for them to accomplish and they couldn't -- and without which the next flight couldn't happen. So in this case, I don't know that I can pick out a specific answer?
QUESTION: How was your feeling as a human being that accomplished 10 of the goals (OFF-MIKE)
ARMSTRONG: Well, after we landed, after touchdown, Buzz and I recognized that the program -- this third or a million or 400,000 people had been working for 10 years to try to do just that, and we put our mark on it and said, you guys did it. It happened. And we shook hands that all those Apollo folks actually achieved the goal.
MALONE: I believe -- is that the "Dayton Daily News"?
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) I guess this question is for Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Aldrin. (OFF-MIKE) A little bit ago you talked about the intensive work load you had and how busy you were. You think NASA should have built time into the flight plan just for a few moments of the human experience, and is that something that perhaps is still an oversight in filling up the schedule in space flight?
ALDRIN: I don't think so. If they had built in three or four minutes, we would have spent most of this press conference talking about what we were thinking about during those two or three minutes. I frankly felt as a transportation person knowledgeable in the orbital mechanics and maybe along for the ride on the rocket part that the activities on the surface, we were just doing the best we could as pilots, test pilots, to try and make like scientists, and we, you know, we did whatever we could. But that certainly to me was not the main priority of our mission, anyway.
ARMSTRONG: I agree.
MALONE: OK, we'll take a question right here in front.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) German Television and question to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Did your life change more after your mission than you expected than before?
ALDRIN: I don't have expectations that include, you know, what is really going to happen. Maybe I don't look forward enough, but -- I do think I'm a visionary person when it comes to some aspects -- but where it's going to effect me, I don't know. Certainly you can't participate in such a momentous program and not have the reminders of it have an effect on your life. And I'm sure all of our lives have changed significantly since then.
MALONE: Question over here, the lady.
QUESTION: Shannon Loring (PHONETIC) with Channel 2. Could each of you please respond to this: How does it feel being here tonight amongst fellow pilots?
ALDRIN: I -- I wish there were a lot more of us here than just the four of us. I'd like to see a big crowd all get together.
CUNNINGHAM: I find that it's a very rewarding experience to get together these days. I have to let you in on a little secret. Back in the days of Apollo, when we were all in the same office and all running around competing for the few seats that were available on spaceflights and everyone feeling like they were the best in the world, there was frequently a lot of competition. It was rewarding working together, but yet there was always -- it was like everybody was the north pole of a magnet all kind of together. And after the program, we kind of flew apart a bit. And only now, at least speaking for myself, can I appreciate the magnitude of what we accomplished in an unself-conscious way. And I find every time I get together with the guys I just have newfound respect for what they did, and I feel fortunate that I was able to participate in such a magnanimous, huge program.
QUESTION: How does it feel to be here?
ARMSTRONG: Well, just to put a different spin on tonight, we're going to have a chance to meet with a large number of Apollo people that came back, who worked on the program, primarily here in the Kennedy area but also from other parts of NASA. And that's going to be a special treat, because it won't be just crewmen, but it will be all the folks that got us there. And it's nice.
ALDRIN: I think all of you communicate to the American people and to the people of the world, and I think it would be remiss if I didn't communicate the thanks that I think all of us have for the support that the media has given in communicating a story of space flight and, in particular, of Apollo, and now to communicate to all the people just how much we thank them for the opportunity, over the years, to have been so fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time, and then had the cards dealt that gave us the opportunities that we had. What -- what a wonderful gift for a person to receive in his life.
MALONE: OK, we've got time for just a couple more questions. We'll take one from Jacques Tizcheau (PHONETIC).
QUESTION: Jacques Tizcheau, "Radio Science International" (PHONETIC). We just have a small quote that we understood in French, but you -- each of you tell me if you would like to go back, maybe not to the moon but to space. Yes or no.
CERNAN: That's easy.
CERNAN: I mean, who would say no?
ALDRIN: How long do I have to train?
CERNAN: But I'll be perfectly candid and honest. If I go back, I want to go back to the moon. I want to go back to a place I once lived. I want to see what it's like today, a generation later. That's where I want to go.
CUNNINGHAM: I'd be perfectly happy just to go back into space, and I would enjoy -- I would savor the moments a lot more this time. I would probably work less and enjoy it more.
MALONE: Allen McBride.
QUESTION: Allen McBride, Reuters Radio Network. This is for each of you gentlemen. It's a question on behalf of my 15-year- old nephew. The question is: "What do I have to do in personal commitment to get to Mars? "
ARMSTRONG: Well, clearly one person can make a difference, but it can't swing a nation, normally. I suspect it will take public will, first and foremost. Public will has to be on the side of going, and if that's there, I believe technology will probably step up to their part of it. As far -- then there's the question of who and how is that supported with assets, finances and so on. That's a bigger question that I'm not in a position to answer, but it would be a start.
CERNAN: Commit himself to his dreams. Don't wait for it to happen. Go out and help make it happen. Don't ever count himself out. He may surprise himself. He may be able to reach a little further than he thought he ever could, accomplish a little bit more than he ever could, and one day -- one day, he might surprise himself, like those of us sitting here, and find himself some place he never, ever thought was possible. Needs a lot of help from a lot of people, as Neil said. The timing has to be right. But, one individual, perhaps, cannot change the world, but he can make a difference in his own life, certainly.
ALDRIN: I think you have to have an open mind, dedicated to curiosity, and see if you can create something to do things better. By looking into things that way I think you will develop that curiosity and that desire to want to be a part of it.
CUNNINGHAM: When I was 15 years old, if someone had stood up in front of the classroom and told me: You've really got to pay attention, do the best you can, because it could take you to the moon someday, I would have thought they were crazy. But they would have been telling the truth. The same thing is true today with young people 15 years old. We cannot even imagine where they're going to go.
MALONE: OK, that's -- we'll take one final question from Sue Butler (PHONETIC).
QUESTION: Neil, you have said that this nation is not really pushing (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for Mars, and all we do is go round and round. But don't you feel you could have made -- or you could still make a difference in Congress in pressuring the powers that be because of your stature of being the first man on the moon? Could you speak publicly more in favor of space exploration? Neil Armstrong.
ARMSTRONG: Well, I think I've done quite a lot. It seems to me I've done a lot, spoken at a lot of public forums over the years. Now, it's -- I have not specifically favored -- endorsed a national project to go to Mars. I haven't been asked -- I didn't do that. My answer about Mars was to a different question, that -- it was a personal response. So, I, you know, maybe I'll try to do better.
MALONE: Would anyone like to make any final comments?
CERNAN: Yes, I just -- I think it's appropriate. I felt this way for a long time, because over the years I think even a lot of your colleagues have questioned Neil's devotion to privacy, even criticized the fact that he wasn't more open on a daily basis with the press like some other people are. Maybe he wasn't comfortable for that -- with that. But for whatever reasons, he had his own reasons.
And I'd just like to say, you know, it could have been anyone who walked on the moon: it could have been Neil, first on the moon, it could have been Buzz, it could have been Wally, it could have been any one of our colleagues. But I don't think any one of us -- any one of us -- who would have had that opportunity could have handled it with as great and as -- and honorable dignity as Neil Armstrong has handled the responsibility of being the first human being to step foot on the surface of the moon.
MALONE: Anyone like to make anymore comments? OK, thank you for coming and happy anniversary to Apollo...
QUESTION: Could you shake hands for us, please.