Saturday afternoon is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission. It was to be the third lunar landing, conducted by astronauts James Lovell Jr., Fred Haise Jr. and John Swigert Jr.
An internal explosion threw the entire mission and the safety of the astronauts to jeopardy, yet all of them safely returned as the astronauts and NASA engineers showed great restraint and grace under pressure.
That description and the lines “Houston, we’ve had a problem” will ring a bell for both space and film enthusiasts. The whole mission was dramatized in the eponymous 1995 film that starred Tom Hanks in the starring role.
But why stop at a dramatized version? To commemorate the 50th anniversary of a mission that has been dubbed a “successful failure”, NASA has painstakingly remastered the whole mission that will be released for the public to enjoy.
The footage was rolled out at 2:13 Eastern Time today, the exact time the mission began on April 11th, 1970. NASA engineer and historian Ben Feist and his team was in charge of the restoration efforts.
The team has restored both the audio and video that NASA has from the mission. A footage that shows the insides of mission control is also visible. This means that anyone interested can quite literally relive the entire moment from liftoff to the celebratory return of the astronauts.
All the photos are exactly the same as what scientists at mission control received 50 years ago. A total of 7,200 hours of audio have been restored to a shockingly clear quality.
From launch to return, the entire project was seven days long. The change of mood and atmosphere for everyone involved is extremely clear and truly brings to life the stress that everyone was going through.
For example, the astronauts and mission control operators exchange pleasantries along side the professional conversation. From jokes to conversations on food, it is clear that everyone was at ease.
However, the fateful explosion stirs the astronauts and then mission control. Aside from the famous line that addresses Houston, the mixed emotions that Haise conveys when he says “I didn’t think I’d be back here this soon” could not have been captured by even the best actor.
You can experience the mission for yourself at https://apolloinrealtime.org. The website hosts restored data from Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 as well. Share with us your thoughts in the comments and follow us on Facebook for more news like this one.