back to article Apollo astronaut Al Worden – once named most isolated human being of all time – dies aged 88

Al Worden, an Apollo astronaut who earned the title of most isolated human, has died aged 88 of a stroke. Worden was Command Module pilot for July 1971's Apollo 15 mission, a role that saw him spend three days in lunar orbit while colleagues commander David Scott and Lunar Module pilot James Irwin visited the moon. During …

  1. gerryg

    I suppose...

    ...a coronavirus joke would be in very poor taste.

    More seriously I wonder what it must have felt like to have done what he did.

    1. JDPower

      Re: I suppose...


      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: I suppose...

        I think he said that he didn't feel lonely, he quite enjoyed the half hour of quiet on the far side.

        He had good communication for most of the time after all...

        1. 0laf Silver badge

          Re: I suppose...

          I've read books of interviews with the Apollo astronauts and the module pilots all seemed to enjoy their time alone especially even their isolation on the dark side of the moon.

          All truly inspirational people and the world is a much greyer place without them.

        2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: I suppose...

          I am sure he would enjoy a little solitude after being cooped up with three others for what will have been a stressful period of time.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            after being cooped up with two others

            Apollo could hold three total, And I don't think there was a stowaway in the LEM; people would have noticed at some point,

      2. ratfox Silver badge

        Re: I suppose...

        Apparently not. It seems if anything, he enjoyed a moment of peace and quiet.

    2. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: I suppose...

      More seriously I wonder what it must have felt like to have done what he did.

      I'd imagine it'd have felt privileged (in the real sense of the word), either frightening or exhilarating, and I'd imagine it would have been both interesting, and very busy - he probably had lots instrumentation to watch as well as the window.

      This ones for you Al ---->

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: I suppose...

        The thing about achieving stuff is that it always looks like a big thing from a distance and then when you get there it seems not such a big deal and you start looking for the next thing. I would guess it felt a lot like doing his job.

        But only a guess of curse. No chance of me really know what it’s like to reach that level of achievement.

  2. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    So long, astronaut

    I'm amazed the mighty Saturn V could even lift off given the mass of the brass pairs you and your mates were packing.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: So long, astronaut

      Some serious overengineering back then.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: So long, astronaut

        In light of following disasters 'over' is not the prefix* you are looking for!

        *not the word I was looking for but keeping your blood alcohol at 60% is causing problems.

  3. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The most isolated human

    During Worden’s 74 orbits of the moon, the Command Module reached a point 3597km away from Scott and Irwin, and also the farthest point from Earth.

    A quote about a peanut in Reading and a small walnut in Johannesburg comes to mind. And indeed, it equates roughly to one human in London and the other in Cairo.

    1. Smooth Newt Silver badge

      Re: The most isolated human

      Yet no man is an island, except Barry,

      1. CliveS

        Re: The most isolated human

        Or as Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness would put it, "No Man Is an Island (Except the Isle of Man)"

        Okay, one for the Prog Rock brigade, I'll get my coat, it's the one with the Porcupine Tree CDs in the pocket.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The most isolated human

          I thought that was a Lee Mack joke....

          1. CliveS

            Re: The most isolated human

            I think the joke (in many forms) is as old as the hills, but Bowness and Wilson formed No-Man as No Man Is an Island (Except the Isle of Man) back in 1987, some 7 years before Lee Mack's first stand-up slot at Brunel University.

      2. AlbertH

        Re: The most isolated human

        ...or Lewis


    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: The most isolated human

      Surely that should be two humans in London...

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        two humans in London...

        Only if they're at least 10.7 linguine apart.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge

    Another boyhood hero, gone

    Truly inspiring men and women.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another boyhood hero, gone

      I appreciate your not assuming Al Worden's preferred gender or pluralisation.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Another boyhood hero, gone

        The team that got him there contained many men, and many women.

        Any/all of them might have been in the posters list of boyhood heroes...

  5. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge


    At least now he is free to walk among the stars.

  6. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Sad news

    But he has had a great innings.

    I followed all the Apollo missions avidly as a kid. Truly heroic stuff. When my kids next complain about being isolated due to school closures etc, I will remind them what real isolation looks like, without internet, netflix, whatsapp, PS4s, etc, etc, not to mention a sizeable garden to relax in. I should of course start the reminder with "When I were a lad we had proper isolation! ..."

    I could get me coat, but I am not going anywhere,

    1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

      Re: Sad news

      To pass the time you could teach them how to use a slide rule...

  7. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    GNU Al Worden

    Mind how you go.

  8. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Obligatory xkcd

    How long until this xkcd is no longer needed?

    Yes, I know he didn't walk on the moon, but we're losing all our childhood heroes.

  9. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    perigee not in the gutters

    (and with all due respect) still looking at the stars.

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