This Photo Is Of Everyone, Almost Everyone
July 20, 1969, was a historic day for everyone. That was the day when the first humans, Commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin, made their first steps on the moon – another celestial body other than our Earth. But as some people know, the Apollo 11 mission was comprised of three men, not just two. The third man, and the one who took this photo, is Michael Collins. He is the astronaut that stayed behind to pilot the Columbia command module that orbited the moon for 21 hours while waiting for the other two astronauts to return. This photo was taken by Collins as the two other astronauts piloted the Eagle lunar module down to the moon’s surface and made history.
But what this photo encapsulates, besides this historic event, is the fact that almost everyone that has ever lived on planet Earth up until that point is captured in this frame. We can see the lunar module descending and then there’s Earth in the background. The only person that has ever lived and who is not in this photo is Michael Collins himself – the one who was standing behind the camera. When this photo was taken, Collins was also the farthest any man had ever travelled away from home. And to truly understand what that means and catch a glimpse of how it must have felt like, here is what he said about being all alone on the dark side of the moon.
“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”.