Why A Door Hinge May Be The Reason Neil Armstrong Was The First Man On The Moon

There can be a variety of reasons that determine the order of procession among people. During disasters, it is not uncommon for women and children to be allowed to exit first. In the case of the military, it might be due to rank. Men might open a door for a woman to enter or exit a building. People might roll dice or play a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine who goes first in a certain game. There are many different scenarios.

When it came to one of the greatest moments in the history of humankind, a time when someone set foot on the surface of a place other than Earth, it wasn't seniority that dictated who went first. There were no games of rock, paper, scissors, nor were there any arm wrestling contests. No, the thing that determined who went first out of Apollo 11 onto the lunar surface was a mere door hinge, according to NBC News.

In the design of the Apollo 11 lunar module, the door swung inward. Neil Armstrong, who was the commander of the mission and whose rank dictated that he should stay inside during a spacewalk, was in the best position to get out first. If he had decided to stay, fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin would have had to climb over him, which would not be ideal given that they did not want to possibly damage their spacesuits in a hostile environment.

The first two on the moon

So it was a design decision that led to Neil Armstrong stepping onto the ladder and uttering the famous "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" quote before then setting foot on the moon, per NBC News. The commander was just thrilled to be ON the moon in the first place — the landing was very complicated due to his having to do it manually to avoid a disastrous crash.

Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin did a moonwalk that lasted two hours and 36 minutes, and they spent a total of 21 hours on the moon before returning to Earth, according to Space. The two of them were intertwined as the first two on the moon, something that followed them up to and beyond the commander's death in 2012. Aldrin continues to be a space legend.

So while people may have certain complicated rituals about how a pecking order should be carried out, there are times that the determination is made just on how a certain door swings open. Then it is just a matter of going through that door.