Search for nearly anything in the world today (19 July 2019) and you’ll be reminded of the Apollo 11 moon landing as Google celebrates the feat’s anniversary with an animated doodle.
Clicking on the doodle starts a 4.5-minute-long video narrated by Michael Collins, one of the three NASA astronauts who was en route to the Moon 50 years ago right now.
He shares what it was like to be perched at the top of a massive Saturn V rocket as it blasted away from Earth, what it was like to see the Moon for himself, and how good his coffee tasted as he orbited alone while his colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history.
“The first time we saw the Moon up close, it was a magnificent spectacle,” Collins says. “It was huge. The Sun was coming around it, cascading and making a golden halo and filled our entire window.”
In the video, Collins also shares some of the logistical details about the flight from Earth to the Moon. “We were in constant sunlight between the Earth and the moon,” Collins says. “In order to regulate the temperatures on Apollo 11, we had to perform a manoeuvre which some called a ‘barbecue roll,’ in which we rotated sideways like a chicken on a spit.”
But perhaps the most touching moment of the video comes when Collins talked about not spaceflight itself or the stunning views of the Moon he was so privileged to visit. Instead, it comes when he shared his newfound perspective on the world he left behind.
“As impressive as the view was of this alien Moon seen up close, it was nothing compared to the sight of the tiny Earth,” Collins says. “The Earth was the main show. The Earth was it.”