Subscribe to Breaking News emails
You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.
Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.
Apollo 13 Photos Help Us Remember Astronauts' Heroism Decades After Near-Tragedy
Apollo 13 was supposed to be NASA's third lunar landing mission but an oxygen leak necessitated an emergency return home.
Members of the original Apollo 13 crew, from left, commander Jim Lovell, command module pilot Ken Mattingly, and lunar module pilot Fred Haise pose in December 1969.
Days before the mission, the crew was inadvertently exposed to German measles. Mattingly had no immunity to the virus and was replaced by backup command module pilot, Jack Swigert.
An artist's conception from March 1970 shows Lovell and Haise exploring the surface of the moon. Behind them is the lunar module.
But the lunar landing was not to be. Instead, some 56 hours into the Apollo 13 mission, oxygen tank No. 2 exploded, causing oxygen tank No. 1 to also fail. The command module's normal supply of electricity, light, and water was lost as they flew more than 200,000 miles from Earth.
Swigert saw a warning light that accompanied the bang and radioed mission control: "Houston, we've had a problem here."
Astronauts and flight controllers monitor the console activity in Mission Control on April 14.
Seated, left to right, are control room guidance officer Raymond Teague and Apollo 14 astronauts Edgar Mitchell and Alan Shepard, both of whom would later walk on the moon. Standing, left to right, are scientist-astronaut Anthony England and backup Apollo 14 crew members Joe Engle, Eugene Cernan, and Ronald Evans.
Cernan became the last man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission.
Your feedback has been sent out. Please enjoy more of our content.
We appreciate your help making nbcnews.com a better place.