Alone at the Moon: What Was Michael Collins Thinking During the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing?

Space.com | 7/20/1969 | Chelsea Gohd
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Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut who piloted the command and service module while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar surface, was dubbed the "loneliest person in the world" upon returning to Earth.

But Collins has since dismissed this description of his time in the spacecraft and recently revealed one of his major preoccupations during his solo orbits: how a colony of white mice was faring back on Earth.

Collins - Colleagues - George - Harrison - Beatles

Collins, who was sometimes overshadowed by his colleagues like George Harrison of the Beatles, was alone in the spacecraft, orbiting the moon, while his colleagues landed and explored on the surface down below. He was also entirely out of communication with NASA Mission Control for more than 45 minutes at a time as he orbited around the far side of the moon.

Related: Apollo 11 at 50: A Complete Guide to the Historic Moon Landing

Moon - Landing - Giveaway - Simulation - Curriculum

Apollo 11 Moon Landing Giveaway with Simulation Curriculum & Celestron!

But despite the total silence, Collins wasn't lonely as he looked down at the lunar surface and thought of his colleagues.

Collins - Explorer - Club - Event - New

"I was not lonely," Collins said at an Explorer's Club event in New York City earlier this year, "I had a happy little home in the command module. Behind the moon it was very peaceful — no one in Mission Control is yakkin' at me and wanting me to do this, that, and the other. So I was very happy, it was a happy home."

Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin laughing while in quarantine after the Apollo 11 mission.

Collins - Story - Stage - Event - Apollo

Collins told his orbiting-the-moon story on stage at the event, alongside Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Rusty Schweickart, Charlie Duke, Walt Cunningham and Al Worden, who...
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