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Sampling the Moon: Remembering the Lost Moonwalks of Apollo 13 (Part 1)

15 Apr 2018, 16:33 UTC
Sampling the Moon: Remembering the Lost Moonwalks of Apollo 13 (Part 1) Teledyne Brown

Had the cruelty of fate not intervened, almost a half-century ago, this month, the fifth and sixth humans ever to set foot on another world would twice have walked on the dusty surface of the Moon. Following their launch aboard Apollo 13, and a four-day voyage across 240,000 miles (370,000 km) of cislunar space, on 16 April 1970 Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) Fred Haise would have boarded the Lunar Module (LM) Aquarius and accomplished humanity’s third piloted landing on our closest celestial neighbor. If near-disaster had not radically altered their mission, Lovell and Haise would have performed two Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) at a place called Fra Mauro, becoming the first Apollo astronauts to explore a hilly upland lunar site. “It was driven by confidence in the LM capability and steerage,” Haise told the NASA Oral History Project of the site selection, years later, “but also, if you’re going to properly sample the Moon…you had to become more diverse in…where you went to get a proper sampling.”

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