The 50th Anniversary of Apollo 13 (36 photos)

This Saturday will mark a half-century since the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission to the moon launched from the Florida coast on April 11, 1970. Apollo 13 was planned to be NASA’s third manned mission to land on the lunar surface, and, despite a few minor issues, went according to plan—until disaster struck about 56 hours into their journey. As the crew were approaching the moon, an explosion took place on the Service Module, blasting open a panel, damaging equipment, and venting oxygen into space. Rapid calculations and actions by the astronauts and Mission Control in Houston were able to salvage life support systems, alter course to return to Earth (skipping the lunar landing), and get the crew safely home. Events that could have resulted in tragedy became stories of ingenuity, perseverance, and survival. Below, a few images from those eventful days 50 years ago.

This view of the the severely damaged Apollo 13 Service Module was photographed from the Lunar Module / Command Module following SM jettisoning on April 17, 1970. As seen in this cropped image, enlarged to provide a close-up view of the damaged area, an entire panel on the SM was blown away by the apparent explosion of an oxygen tank.


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