45 years ago today, 11 April 1970 at 14:13 EDT (18:13 UTC) NASA’s Apollo 13 launched. The mission was the third mission destined to land on the moon.
The moon landing was not to be and the crew: Commander James Lovel, Command Module Pilot John Swigert and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise encountered major problems resulting from an oxygen tank explosion.
What resulted was a life and death undertaking to bring the crew back to Earth.
The newscast was from the American network CBS with reporting by Walter Conkite and former astronaut Wally Schirra.
Launched on 17 February 1965, Ranger 8 reached the moon on 20 February when it impacted the surface. The spacecraft sent back some of the closest images of the lunar surface and helped select landing sites for the Apollo missions.
Ranger 8 impacted the surface at something a little less than 2.68 km/sec or 6,000 mph. I spent a bit of time looking for the possible impact site in LROC data, still looking too.
When NASA astronauts and any support staff that might have to quickly exit the had to get off the 60 meter/195 foot level of Launch pad 39A and B at Cape Canaveral they would do so by using slide-wire baskets.
The baskets could hold three people could get in the baskets at the Fixed Service Structure and travel 366 meters/1200 foot to safety in just about 30 seconds. The braking system was a drag chain braking system and a catch net.
The bit of an interlude in the ESA’s Comet watch blog is a good time to look at some of Voyager 2’s images of Neptune. This is one of my favorites. I don’t really know if there is more than coincidence that the New Horizon’s spacecraft crossed the Neptune orbit 29 years almost to the day after Voyager started its Neptune encounter.
There is a lot of comparisons being drawn between the New Horizon’s and Voyager missions. Hey I’m on board with it. If I had my way there would be a “Le Verrier” or “Galle” spacecraft, a Neptune analog of the Cassini spacecraft in orbit right now.
In case you were wondering what was going on with Rosetta, everything is fine. Mission managers are looking at images from as close as 50 km trying to select the best landing spot. New images will be posted shortly.
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacted the planet Jupiter 16 July 1994. The comet broke up under the influence of the gravitational pull of the planet during a close pass in July 1992 (was within the Roche limit) and impacted two years later.
The image above is one of many images you can find at our Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 page. Be sure to visit the links for the legendary Eugene Shoemaker too.