Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins Answers Frequently Asked Questions

Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins Answers Frequently Asked Questions

In lieu of media interviews, Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins answered the questions he is most frequently asked — and a few he added — in a July 15, 2009 NASA press release. Tomorrow, July 16, is the 40th anniversary of the launch of that historic mission.

Editorial comment: Collins’ colloquy with himself is quite charming and amusing, as well as insightful. Definitely worth reading. Here’s an excerpt.

Q. So, if I wanted to sum you up, I should say “grumpy?”

A. No, no, lucky! Usually, you find yourself either too young or too
old to do what you really want, but consider: Neil Armstrong was born
in 1930, Buzz Aldrin 1930, and Mike Collins 1930. We came along at
exactly the right time. We survived hazardous careers and we were
successful in them. But in my own case at least, it was 10 percent
shrewd planning and 90 percent blind luck. Put LUCKY on my tombstone.

Q. Okay, but getting back to the space program. What’s next?

A. I hope Mars. It was my favorite planet as a kid and still is. As
celestial bodies go, the moon is not a particularly interesting
place, but Mars is. It is the closest thing to a sister planet that
we have found so far. I worry that at NASA’s creeping pace, with the
emphasis on returning to the moon, Mars may be receding into the
distance. That’s about all I have to say.

He also has published a 40th anniversary edition of his terrific book, Carrying the Fire.

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