Obituary: Michael CollinsThe third manMichael Collins, astronaut, died on April 28th, aged 90The moon that filled the window of the spacecraft Columbia was not one Michael Collins had ever seen before.It was absolutely three-dimensional, its belly bulging out towards him. Cascading sunlight formed a halo round it.The lighter parts were a lot lighter than usual, the jagged mountains darker. It was electrifying. Then the feeling passed.“Hello Moon!” he quipped. “How’s the old backside?”This was the closest he had come, as the Apollo 11 crew on July 19th 1969 scouted out their best landing place.But he knew all about the Moon: dry, lifeless, rough as a corncob. Sometimes it looked like a sun-seared peach pit, sometimes like smallpox.What it never looked was interesting. He would certainly much rather have flown off to Mars.It was therefore no hardship, when his colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the lunar module Eagle down to the surface and clumped about on it,for him to stay for 27 hours in orbit in Columbia.Someone had to get them home. Besides, he loved Columbia, finest of ships, commodious and a friend.