One giant leap: Author Charles Fishman on Apollo 11

ABC's David Kerley sat down with the historian to find out if Apollo truly accomplished everything it was meant to do.
4:47 | 06/29/19

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Transcript for One giant leap: Author Charles Fishman on Apollo 11
People are planted more. All good. Violently broke. I'm David Curley at the Smithsonian air and space museum where we are marking fifty years since man landed on the moon. And walked on the moon there were so many Americans involved in this project and so much of what Apollo accomplished. Is still with us today. What drove America to go to the moon and did we get accomplished everything we hoped to. Those are questions that are part of a new book by the author and journalist Charles Fishman. The book is called one giant leap. Time not the name of your book the title. Going to the moon was the biggest undertaking. Not just of the United States but of humanity. In a non wartime setting three times the size of the Manhattan Project so it wasn't just one giant leap for the astronauts. It was one giant leap for the 400000 people back on earth where did do the work to get the astronauts to them. We chose to go to double and Kennedy said let's go to the moon. It wasn't that most Americans have never been an object on a majority of the country has never tasted clean flight I think. Kerry that voted on mode and if it can then do the other thing. Not because they are UV that because they are odd. The motivation of president Kennedy. Was really one more about military. And position in the world. The race to the moon was born out of Cold War rivalry. The Soviet Union has just. Crushing the United States in space. The first satellite the first creatures into space the first man in orbit the first woman in orbit they have one. They were winning Kennedy was looking for giants think he was looking for a way of definitively. Reestablishing. American. Preeminence. In technology and science and space in the context of the Cold War. Lift we have a left 32 minutes past the hour. Liftoff on Apollo eleven. Here felt the landing electing Greg beat back a good and other vital link back oh with a okay and think about this Gooden. An important day appears Angola one of its blue. Revealing moment that's not. That widely known when Apollo eleven landed an eagle landed Armstrong and Aldrin were scheduled to take and then immediately after they landed. They actually been up at that point for twenty hours or more and they called mission control and basically said. And flight would go to sleep when I'm conversely we're gonna gonna sit up and get outside. And perform all of their program. All it quietly. Armstrong. Was a pretty straight shooter Aldrin even in those days was was all a little wacky year. And he spent three or four minutes racing around the movement. During a good moonwalk. Kangaroo hopping bunny hopping running like a running back. Like a football. But that's good I've got a little bit about the latter. If the mission of a power which is to get to the moon and get back OK we did that nobody who was a serious space peek at the time. But that was only in the real mission was. Create the world of the Jetsons. Open the solar system we didn't even finish a power there were three more missions scheduled and President Nixon canceled Apollo 1819 funny. Because he didn't. See the point what does it really. Mean how do you explain it to the younger generation to access to information the digital revolution. Powell really laid the foundation for that because of the intensity. Of computer development the effects. Of the moon landing are long lasting and we live with him today your iPhone has more computing power. Not that the computers that flew to the mood it has more one iPhone has more computing power. The NASA had available. Total in all computers they used during any particular space mission. How did they do that it was an action ordinary technology achievement. But so it's a moment to say. Wow. What what was it about how our national spirit that. You know allowed us to do that that motivated to do that the what are the two or three things that really need our attention now. That we can apply that same nationals are to we are a different country that we were in nineteen. Thinking we're a better country than that we are now in many ways actually a better country now them anyway that. So whenever we could do then we we can do now if we put lines to.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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