Sunday, March 28, 2010

Apollo 13 nearly 40 years ago.

The "Apollo 40's" keep coming.  Last summer we had the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, and coming up next month is the 40th anniversary of the nearly disastrous Apollo 13.  Some interesting items have recently appeared about this mission. First of all, with the big public release of the LRO images a couple weeks ago more of the old stuff is being found on the moon that the US and Russia flung up there to land, crash, or roll around on.  The third stage (S-IVB technically) of Apollo 13 impacted the moon (Something from Apollo 13 did make it to the surface!) to set off some seismic events for the equipment from Apollo 12 to measure.  That impact point has recently been found by LRO.
Then, to make the story even more interesting, it now seems that the astronauts would have made it back to Earth 5 weeks later if they didn't manage to get back to Earth. They would have been dead of course, but unlike the stories told in all the books, they wouldn't have been lost in space permanently but a little over a month later, the spacecraft would have collided with Earth and burned up.  A tidy cremation for the brave crew at least.  Fortunately, we all know the happy ending so this scenario never happened, but it's interesting to learn more details.  See Andrew Chaikin's video below for more. It's a little wide for my blog page so double click for the full size, see it in HD too!

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