90-year-old Michael Collins “Forgotten Space Moon” regrets being too old for a Mars mission | Science

90-year-old Michael Collins "Forgotten Space Moon" regrets being too old for a Mars mission |  Science

1930-2021Astronaut Michael Collins died at the age of 90. Collins has been referred to as the “Forgotten Astronaut”. He flew the first manned moon landing flight Apollo 11 in 1969, but never set foot on the moon.

Tony Van Der Mai

Last updated:
04-21-29, 15:19

Collins spent the eight-day mission commanding the Columbia Command Unit. Commander Neil Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin took their first steps on the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969 – after leaving Cape Canaveral, Florida and traveling 238,000 miles.

Collins was left alone in the command module and had to wait in lunar orbit while his colleagues descended to the surface of the moon with the Eagle Lunar Module. It was 69 miles from the moon.

Official photo of Michael Collins before the departure of Apollo 11. © Reuters

Hundreds of millions of people around the world saw on television that Armstrong was the first human to enter the moon. He said, “A small step for a person, a big step for humanity.” At the time, Collins had no wireless connection with flight control in Houston. He wrote in his diary that he “was alone with God on the other side of the moon.”

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Only later, when he restored wireless connectivity, did Collins learn that the landing was a success and that President Nixon congratulated his colleagues. “I think you’re the only person in the area who doesn’t have a TV broadcast for this event,” said the tour manager from Houston. ,,There is nothing wrong. Answered.

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Collins was alone in the Command Module for nearly 28 hours before Armstrong and Aldrin completed their missions on the lunar surface and took off again using the LM. Collins had to reconnect the spacecraft. If something went wrong at that time and Aldrin and Armstrong were trapped on the surface of the Moon – that was his biggest fear – Collins would have returned to Earth alone.

Apollo 11 crew (left to right): Edwin Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins.
Apollo 11 crew (left to right): Edwin Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins. © AP

Thankfully, all went well. On July 24, the capsule, along with Collins, Armstrong and Aldrin, fell into the Pacific Ocean. After welcoming the heroes to their country, they went on a world tour.

Collins was often asked if he felt sorry for not having landed on the moon. But that was never an option for him. His specialty was command unit control. Compare his job to that of a camp base operator on a mountaineering expedition.

He wrote in his autobiography: “I know I would be a liar or a fool if I said I had the best of the three Apollo 11 seats, but I can honestly say that I am completely satisfied with where I have been.” “This project was created for three men, and I consider my third place as necessary as any of the other two men.”


Collins made his first space flight in 1966. His second and final space flight was that of Apollo 11. His strongest memory of this was looking at Earth, which he said looked “peaceful and quiet” but also “fragile.”

A heroes' reception for the Apollo 11 crew.
A heroes’ reception for the Apollo 11 crew. © Reuters

“As I look back at Apollo 11, I feel more and more drawn into my memory, not to the moon, but to Earth.” Collins said during celebrations for the mission’s fiftieth anniversary in 2019:

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Of the three astronauts, Collins was the Joker. Aldrin called him “the easy man who brought frivolity into things.”

He wrote a children’s book about his experience in 1994. In the introduction, he urged Collins to spend more on space exploration and a manned mission to Mars.

Collins wrote, “I’m too old to travel to Mars, and I’m sorry about that.” But I still thought I was very lucky. I was born in the days of biplane airplanes and Buck Rogers, learned to fly in early jet aircraft, and reached my zenith when lunar missiles passed by. It’s hard to beat.

His family said in a statement that Collins had died of cancer. His family said, “Mike has always faced life’s challenges with grace and humility, and so has the last challenge.” “We’ll miss him terribly. But we also know how happy Mike was with the life he lived.”

Armstrong passed away in 2012 at the age of 82. Collins said at the time that he would miss him a lot. Aldrin is 91 years old and lives in the United States.

Collins in 2019.
Collins in 2019. © AP

Michael Collins while training unit command.
Michael Collins while training unit command. © AP

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