“I have been places and done things you simply would not believe, I feel like saying; I have dangled from a cord a hundred miles up; I have seen the earth eclipsed by the moon, and enjoyed it. I have seen the sun’s true light, unfiltered by any planet’s atmosphere. I have seen the ultimate black of infinity in a stillness undisturbed by any living thing. I have been pierced by cosmic rays on their endless journey from God’s place to the limits of the universe.

“Although I have no intention of spending the rest of my life looking back, I do have this secret, this precious thing, that I will always carry with me. I have not been able to do these things because of any great talent I possess; rather, it has all been the roll of the dice, the same dice that causes the growth of cancer cells, or an aircraft ejection seat to work or not work. In my life so far I have been very, very lucky.

“Any death seems premature, but I really believe my own will seem less premature, because of what I have been able to do.”

Michael Collins (October 31, 1930 – April 28, 2021)