Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, who piloted the command module of the spacecraft to the surface of the moon passed away on Wednesday. He was 90. Mourning the loss of the 'true pioneer' NASA tweeted that he 'inspired generations'.
When Apollo 11 landed on the moon's surface on July 20, 1969, Collins stayed back while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin travelled to the lunar surface to become the first humans to walk on the moon. Collins remained in the command module for more than 21 hours until his two fellow astronauts returned.
Collins is often described a the 'forgotten' third astronaut on the historic lunar mission.
He had a short stint in the US government and became director of the National Air and Space Museum. He, however, stepped down from the post in 1978. Collins has also authored several space-related books.
"I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of 100,000 miles, their outlook could be fundamentally changed. That all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument silenced," he said once while recalling his lunar mission memories of looking back at the Earth which he said seemed 'fragile.'