Houston wasn't the first word spoken from the moon

Apollo 11 moon mission
Apollo 11 moon mission

Rick Perry went to the moon in his last inaugural address as governor.

We went there, too, ultimately finding flaws in his claim about the first word spoken from the moon.

In that January 2011 speech, Perry praised Texans for their "resilience" and "resourcefulness," saying that "if something has never been done before, it's just because we haven't tried it." Among the accomplishments Perry credited to Texans was pioneering space.

"Matter of fact," he said, "the first word spoken from the moon was 'Houston.' "

That statement drew shouts and applause — and our attention.

Perry hearkened, of course, to the instantly historic line uttered July 20, 1969, by NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong to a worldwide television and radio audience and the folks in mission control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston after he and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin landed the lunar module, Eagle, on the moon: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

At first, we were confident that Perry had it right. However, research raised doubts — especially after we saw YouTube posts of video and audio from the landing that suggested some technical communications by the astronauts took place after the landing and before Armstrong said "Houston."

Spoiler: "Houston" wasn't the first word spoken from the moon. Rather, words from a technical checklist piled up before Armstrong said what many of us remember. We found Perry's claim False.