Thursday, 17 April 2014

Who was the first Italian to Orbit the Moon?

I guess from your blank expressions, Noble Readers, that this question does not compute.

The truth is, until today I had no idea that any Italians had been orbiting the moon. But now I find that there was at least one, and I suspect the first of them will surprise you because he doesn't sound very much like an Italian. Actually, he sounds rather more like a native of a completely different country beginning with "I". Not Iceland, Iran or Iraq, but ... Ireland.

Have you guessed his name yet? I bet you have.

Yes, indeed, it's Michael Collins. The man is seldom mentioned in the same breath as his colleagues Armstrong and Aldrin, but he was pretty key to the success of that Apollo 11 mission, taking care of the mother ship in moon orbit as the other two took their famous lunar excursion. Don't you just hate it when worthy people get overlooked? So let's hear it, this time, for ALL the Apollo 11 astronauts.

But ... what's all this about Michael Collins being Italian?

It's true. Well ... sort of. He was born in Rome, which the last time I looked was in Italy. Although it must be said that his pop was in the U.S. Army, so America can probably claim him after all.

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