The NASA veteran played a critical role in the first manned Moon landing alongside colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. After retiring from NASA in 1970, the astronaut has been a vocal supporter of establishing a human presence on Mars. Now, astronaut Michael Collins, 88, has opened up about the ultimate question of are we alone in the universe. In an online question and answer session on Twitter, Mr Collins’ 56,600 Twitter followers were given a chance to submit any burning queries they have.
One Twitter follower asked the astronaut if he believes in “life outside of Earth” under the hashtag #AskMichaelCollins.
In a blunt but revealing answer, Mr Collins simply said: “Yes.”
The answer excited a storm of tweets from followers who are similarly convinced extraterrestrial life has evolved on some alien planet far from Earth.
Twitter user Gulshan Kumar said: “Probably… but no evidence…”
Fernando Leon said: “I believe too but there is no evidence to support my belief.”
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NASA astronaut Michael Collins believes in alien life outside of Earth (Image: NASA/GETTY)
Angela Byrne said: “Yes, definitely… it would be crazy not to… and very scary.”
Collins retired from the Air Force as a major general and left NASA in 1970
And Betty Cozatt said: “Given the literally billions of planets where life might be yes is the only possible answer.
“But has that life evolved into a species that has developed interstellar travel. Probably but no definitive answer yet.”
However, the next big question is whether life outside of Earth has developed enough to form intelligent civilisations.
NASA’s scientists believe the planet Mars may hold evidence of past microbial life but not developed species.
In other cosmic queries, regarding his time in space, Mr Collins was asked about eating bacon in space, his favourite moments from Apollo 11 and why he grew a moustache during the Moon landing.
In regards to enjoying the bacon, the astronaut said: “No. Bacon should not be cubed!”
Mr Collins is a former American test pilot who served in the United States Air Force before joining NASA.
As a test pilot, Mr Collins has logged more than 4,200 hours in flight.
Through is work in the US Air Force, Mr Collins retired with the rank of major general.
In July 1969, the astronaut flew the Command Module spacecraft around the Moon while astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the surface for the first time in history.
NASA said: “After he graduated from the US Military Academy in West Point, New York, in 1952, he chose to become an Air Force test pilot.
“Selected by NASA as an astronaut in 1963, he served as the pilot for Gemini X and as the command module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission, the first time humans set foot on another celestial body.
“Collins retired from the Air Force as a major general and left NASA in 1970.”