U.S. should skip moon, head for Mars, Apollo 11's Michael Collins says
Upi.com - Tue 16 Jul 07:55 GMT

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins is glad to hear more talk about missions to Mars, as the 50th anniversary of the historic first moonwalk stokes public interest in space.

  ORLANDO, Fla., July 15 (UPI) -- Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins is glad to hear more talk about missions to Mars as Saturday's 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk fires up public interest in space.

  "I see more moon missions as delaying Mars, which is a much more interesting place to go," Collins said.

  Collins, 88, will speak about the Apollo missions at a private event at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Cocoa, Fla.

  Speaking with Collins will be astronaut Charlie Duke, who walked on the moon during Apollo 16; Rusty Schweickart, who flew on Apollo 9, the first manned flight test of the lunar module; and Gerry Griffin, the Apollo flight director and later director of Johnson Space Center in Houston.

  Media at the time of the moon missions seized on the idea of Collins being the "loneliest" person in history as he flew around the moon by himself.

  Collins said President John F. Kennedy's call for a moon mission had been a "mandate of simplicity."

  Asked what he remembers most about the mission, Collins, like many other astronauts, says seeing Earth from space is life-changing.