The Atlantic

The Best Banter From Apollo 11

Between the high-stakes maneuvers, the crew joked around, listened to music, and drank way too much coffee.
Source: NASA

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series reflecting on the Apollo 11 mission, 50 years later.

Apollo 11 was all about the destination, but there was more to the mission than the landing itself. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins took an eight-day-long journey punctuated by a series of complicated procedures to reach the moon and make it back in one piece. And in between these tense maneuvers were easy conversations and playful jokes. After all, the crew was stuck with one another for hours. It wasn’t going to be business all the time.

The Apollo 11 capture these buoyant moments in a sea of jargon about spacecraft systems. These exchanges feel familiar in an environment that is anything but. The astronauts drink hot coffee and eat sausage for breakfast; they listen to music; they make fun of one another and of Mission Control. Reading through the transcripts, it’s easy to forget these three men are actually hurtling through space at thousands of miles per hour, with no guarantee they’d get where , and no guarantee . Sometimes, they sound just like a group of guys on a road trip. “If we’re late in answering you,” Collins told Mission Control several hours after they

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