Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins Has Died Aged 90

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Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins Has Died Aged 90

Michael Collins, who was one of the first three men to reach the Moon, via the Apollo 11 space flight in 1969, has died aged 90. It is believed that Collins was suffering from cancer.


Michael Collins famously travelled with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to the Moon in 1969, but unlike the other two astronauts, he never actually set foot on the surface. Instead, Collins was left behind in the command module that circled the Moon and awaited departure. Due to this, Collins is sometimes referred to as the 'forgotten astronaut'.


Collins remained in the module for 22 hours while Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin carried out experiments. During this time, the module passed on the dark side of the Moon, meaning he was the furthest away any human being has ever been from planet Earth.


Collins later said of his memories:


"The thing I remember most is the view of planet Earth from a great distance. Tiny. Very shiny. Blue and white. Bright. Beautiful. Serene and fragile."


NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk, said of Collins’ passing:


"NASA mourns the loss of this accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend of all who seek to push the envelope of human potential. Whether his work was behind the scenes or on full view, his legacy will always be as one of the leaders who took America's first steps into the cosmos. And his spirit will go with us as we venture toward farther horizons."


His family also released a statement, which read:


"He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side. Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge in the same way."


Francis French, space historian and author, said of Collins:


"It's a shame that when people are asked, 'Can you name the Apollo 11 crew?' Mike Collins is normally the name that doesn't come to mind. Because in many ways he was the keystone of the mission. He was the one who really knew how to fly the spacecraft solo (the only person who flew a spacecraft solo in the entire mission) and the only one who could get all three of them home. And if something went wrong with the lunar lander that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were in. Michael Collins had the engine that could try to rendezvous with somewhere around the Moon and rescue them."


Neil Armstrong died in 2012, while Buzz Aldrin is 91-years-old.


[h/t: NPR]


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Thinking Humanity: Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins Has Died Aged 90
Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins Has Died Aged 90
Michael Collins, who was one of the first three men to reach the Moon, via the Apollo 11 space flight in 1969, has died aged 90. It is believed that C
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