A Giant Leap

Neil raises his arms in triumph while Gene gestures toward Earth

Painting Completed 1995
18 x 14 1/4 inches, Acrylic on Aircraft Plywood

Neil Armstrong's first step on the Moon was Apollo's most celebrated moment. No matter what our age, those of us on planet Earth remember exactly where we were and what we were doing at that time. Unfortunately, there was no one in a good position to photograph the moment.

I talked with Neil for quite a while before I started this painting. I wanted to know which rung he was holding with his right hand as he stepped off the ladder with his left foot, and exactly where on the landing pad was his right foot? He paused, then asked me the same two questions about my first step some 4 months later. I told him I didn't know. He said, "Well!" We agreed that there were some details we just couldn't remember from our missions.

In this painting, I show Neil shifting his weight from his right foot, which is resting on the lunar module landing pad, to his left on the Moon. This would be considered the first human footprint on the Moon. "...one small step for man..." He would then shift his weight back to his right foot, still on the landing pad, lift his left foot and make some technical observations about the historic footprint.

As the centuries unfold, there will be first steps on Mars and other celestial bodies. They will be much farther away than our Moon, but none will ever be a more giant leap for humankind than the one made by Neil Armstrong and all the people when helped him make that leap on July 20, 1969.