(KETK) – On Saturday, the world will celebrate the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon, one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments.
However, the Nixon administration also had to face reality during the dangerous mission. With this in mind, Nixon asked his speechwriter William Safire to pen a contingency plan “in event of moon disaster.”
Even after the lunar module landed on the surface, there was no guarantee that it would be able to re-link up with the command module, where Michael Collins remained.
If it couldn’t NASA would be forced to strand Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon forever.
“The men would either have to starve or commit suicide,” Safire later told Meet The Press.
In this event, NASA would cut off communication with the astronauts and Nixon would phone each of their wives, expressing his condolences.
“These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery,” the speech wrote. “But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.”
President Nixon then would give him somber address before the nation. Afterward, the astronauts were to be given a modified burial at sea that commended their souls to “the deepest depths.”
The speech was finished by July 18, 1969, two days before Neil Armstrong made “one giant leap for mankind.” However, it was not shared with the public and media until 1999
Thankfully, this speech was never needed and it resides in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
You can read the speech in full below: