For decades, man has been mesmerized by what lies beyond. NASA projects and missions have aimed to explain some of the many unanswered questions we have about space and the planets in our universe, and while some of these missions have been plain sailing, others have been less successful. This was certainly the case for the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center on April 11th, 1970.
The Man in Charge
Ultimately, Apollo 13 only became a mission to remember because it ended in disaster — and commander Jim Lovell got to experience every single second of it. The Apollo 13 mission had the intention of exploring the Fra Mauro area of the moon. Unfortunately, that mission didn’t go as planned. Just two days into the Apollo 13 mission, an oxygen tank within the service module failed, which not only caused a huge explosion but it also meant that the three astronauts out in space had to abort their mission. However, it wasn’t as easy as that as all signs led to the notion that they would not be able to head back to Earth safely.
Talking to Astronomy.com, Jim Lovell explained that the crew originally thought that the large explosion they heard was actually just a prank that one of the astronauts was playing on them. When they realized they were in grave danger, they knew they would have to use the lunar module to get back to Earth — but it was only designed for two people. NASA made arrangements and adjustments to the module, and this meant that they could eventually get home. Once again, though, their travels were fraught with dangers as one of the other astronauts developed a kidney infection. Once they returned safely, Jim decided that it would be the last flight he took.
50 years later, the Apollo 13 disaster is still ripe in his memory.