Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Forty Years Ago Today: Apollo 13

The number 13 had a bad reputation long before 1970, but it only got worse on April 13 of that year. Just eight months earlier, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Apollo 12 had a picture-perfect mission to the moon in November. But Apollo 13 had that number. Lift off two days earlier was at 1:13 PM, or 13:13 in military time. Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell noticed the coincidence of the time, but he is not a superstitious man. Besides, lift-off was on April 11th. He, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise were on their way to the moon to explore the Fra Mauro highlands and bring back moon samples. But that's not the way the mission turned out, as you'll see in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

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