Michael Collins, who was part of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon - with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin - but orbited the moon in the command module while his crew mates walked on the lunar surface, has passed away from cancer. He was 90.
A couple of years ago The Atlantic had a piece about Collins, which it reposted yesterday. It revealed a man at peace with himself and his role in history, a man with a sense of humor, one not particularly interested in answering ceaseless questions about what it was like to be the third man, the guy who did not walk on the moon.
"Collins wishes people would ask him something else about his trip to the moon, something that he’s heard is one of the most common questions for astronauts these days. 'I’ve never had it before - I’m not sure why - but how do you go potty in space?' Collins says. 'I’ve been waiting for it, because the answer is: carefully.'
"It is understandable that no one has inquired; surely you can’t bother someone who went to the moon with such a silly question. Apollo 11 isn’t remembered for its bathroom breaks. But Collins might be glad you asked."