The asteroid named after Michael Collins, one of the protagonists of the historic Apollo 11 mission, greeted the Earth in the same hours when the astronaut died at the age of 90.
Named '6471 Collins, the asteroid was photographed by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, thanks to one of the automatic telescopes of the Virtual Telescope Project.
In the photo the asteroid appears as a bright dot next to a trail of light, a trace of the passage of the Delta 4 R / B satellite.
"I like to think of this sign as an imprint of our presence in space, which had in Michael one of his greatest heroes", says Masi, who lived for many years 500 meters from the Roman house where Collins, son of the military attaché at the US Embassy, was born in 1930. “Immediately after learning of his disappearance, I checked if the asteroid bearing his name was visible.
He was, and I was able to capture his image, thinking about him, his legacy and his example ”.
In the historic Apollo 11 mission, Michael Collins was the pilot of the Columbia command module, who remained in the lunar orbit while his two colleagues, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, took their first steps on the Moon.
This aspect made him famous as 'the loneliest man in the universe'.