Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, who orbited the moon alone while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their historic first steps on the lunar surface, died Wednesday. He was 90.
Collins died of cancer, his family said in a statement. “Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge, in the same way.”
Collins was part of the three-man Apollo 11 crew that in 1969 effectively ended the space race between the United States and Russia and answered President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to reach the moon by the end of the 1960s.
“It’s human nature to stretch, to go, to see, to understand,” Collins said on the 10th anniversary of the moon landing in 1979. “Exploration is not a choice really — it’s an imperative, and it’s simply a matter of timing as to when the option is exercised.”
“Whether his work