Tag Astronauts

Mike Collins Behind the Moon

Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins, and Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin at the Kennedy Space Center in July, 1969. Just a few days before that Saturn V rocket in the background took them to the moon.


Neil on the left was the first on the moon. He was the one who said, “one giant leap for Mankind.” Buzz, on the right was number two stomping around on the moon. Mike Collins, looking so cool and humble in the middle never walked on the moon. Never even landed on it. He was the one who ran the Command Module, the craft that orbited around the so called dark side of the moon as the mission on it’s surface took place. Then he went home, never to return.

I’ve always felt bad for Mike Collins. To get so close and not to walk or land or anything. I felt bad for him until I read this paragraph from his autobiography, which gives a good perspective on how he felt about his unique mission.

“Far from feeling lonely or abandoned, I feel very much a part of what is taking place on the lunar surface. I know that I would be a liar or a fool if I said that I have the best of the three Apollo 11 seats, but I can say with truth and equanimity that I am perfectly satisfied with the one I have. This venture has been structured for three men, and I consider my third to be as necessary as either of the other two. I don’t mean to deny a feeling of solitude. It is there, reinforced by the fact that radio contact with the Earth abruptly cuts off at the instant I disappear behind the moon, I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. I am it. If a count were taken, the score would be three billion plus two over on the other side of the moon, and one plus God knows what on this side.” – Michael Collins

Unrelated to the mission, the photograph reminds me that I need a haircut. I’ve got another style of 1969 haircut right now, less lunar mission, more Sonny Bono.

Apollo 11 Source Code

Add this to the list of things I don’t understand but I like. Code junkies / NASA nerds just released all of the Apollo 11 mission’s computer code online for people to look at and comment on and use however they like.

In 2003 it first appeared online as a series of image scans on some MIT server someplace. First of all I know how hardcore it is to stand over a scanner and scan in a book. But look at this sucker. That’s a lot of pages to scan in.


And Get this!

All those pages were transcribed by hand.

The AGC code has been available to the public for quite a while–it was first uploaded by tech researcher Ron Burkey in 2003, after he’d transcribed it from scanned images of the original hardcopies MIT had put online. That is, he manually typed out each line, one by one.

So now that it’s online what’s happening with it?

Not too much I guess. There’s not much use for it without the cool hardware that it was built for. There is an interesting simulation of it. But it’s interesting in the sense of “hey someone made that” rather than “I wish it was available for my phone.”