A friend of mine just received one of those weird blank emails you sometimes see, dated 1969-12-31. Oh, I know what you’re going to say: it’s a server glitch, or the email program has a bug. Sure. You believe your thing.

Me? I like to think those emails actually come from Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut who had to spend a day orbiting the moon—cut off from all human contact, even radio—while Armstrong and Aldrin bounced around on it. How did he cope with being the loneliest person in history? I think he beamed messages into space… messages that ultimately bounced off some distant world or massive as-yet-undetected object, and have only now returned to us, transformed into email. All the data has been lost in the transformation; only the year of transmission remains.

So if you get one, just respond, “Hi, Michael—hang in there. You guys make it back fine.”

The Apollo 11 crew portrait. Left to right are...

Michael’s the one in the middle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)