The day that the Apolo 11 touched the moon for the first time and its crew, Neil Armstrong Y Buzz Aldrin they became the first human beings to set foot on the lunar soil, Michael Collins I visualized everything from 110 kilometers high, just as excited but far from the lights that made his teammates famous.
Collins, who unlike Armstrong and Aldrin never walked on the moon, piloted the command module while circling above Earth’s natural satellite, meeting them after 22 hours. In the meantime, while the world was paralyzed and watched in amazement as the astronauts jump, take photographs and collect lunar samples, the pilot observed the arid lunar landscape from afar and in turn, had a privileged view towards Earth.
“What I remember most is the view of planet Earth from a great distance,” he would later say. “Tiny. Very bright. Blue and white. Sparkly. Handsome. Serene and fragile ”.
And more than 50 years after that feat, Collins passed away this Wednesday because of cancer with which I had been battling for a long time. This was confirmed by his family on his official Twitter account.
“Mike always met life’s challenges with grace and humility, and he met this, his final challenge, in the same way,” the statement said.
Family Statement on Passing of Astronaut Michael Collins pic.twitter.com/6OAw7CzFaz
— Michael Collins (@AstroMCollins) April 28, 2021
After knowing the news, NASA stated that “Mourns the loss of this accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend to all who seek to expand human potential. Whether your work was behind the scenes or on view, your legacy will always be as one of the leaders who took America’s first steps into the cosmos. And his spirit will accompany us as we venture into more distant horizons. “
Today, the nation lost a true pioneer and lifelong advocate of exploration in astronaut Michael Collins. As an Apollo 11 command module pilot, some called him ‘the loneliest man in history’As his colleagues walked on the Moon for the first time, he helped our nation achieve a decisive milestone. He also distinguished himself in the Gemini Program and as an Air Force pilot, ”he adds.
“Michael continued to be a tireless promoter of space. “Exploration is not an option, actually, it is an imperative,” he said. Intensely thoughtful about his experience in orbit, he added: ‘What would be worth recording is what kind of civilization we Earthlings created and whether or not we ventured into other parts of the galaxy,’ “concludes the statement from the US Space Agency.
His life after the moon
Although his adventure with Apollo 11 would be his last, he always stated that I had never given up hope of stepping on the moon. After the feat, Collins rose to the rank of major general and left NASA in 1970 to join the State Department. He later became director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, supervising its construction and opening in 1976.
Already in his later years, Collins was active, competed in triathlons, and opened up to other activities such as painting or writing. In fact, su libro “Carrying the Fire”, it was a success and is considered the best of all astronaut autobiographies. He continually called his time with NASA “a chapter in my life, the best and brightest chapter in my life, but not the only one.”
After the death of Collins, of the crew that reached the moon in 1969 only Buzz Aldrin survives (91), since Neil Armstrong died in 2012 at 82 years old.