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Apollo 13

Jun 17, 2022
Science & Technology
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23
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It was meant to be a simple space mission to the moon, but 56 hours into the flight tragedy struck.

In this episode, we'll learn how three astronauts managed to use teamwork and quick thinking to escape death and return to Earth alive.

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[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:11] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about Apollo 13.

[00:00:27] It was meant to be the third manned space mission to the Moon, a routine scientific journey, and for the first two days pretty much everything went to plan.

[00:00:38] But, 56 hours after lift-off and 330,000km from Earth, a defective oxygen tank exploded onboard, destroying Apollo 13's main life support and propulsion systems and leaving it stranded in space.

[00:00:55] It would become an epic story that captivated the nation, a story of heroism and bravery, of quick thinking, and hope against all odds.

[00:01:06] You may know something already about Apollo 13, you may even have seen the film, but today we are going to tell this epic tale.

[00:01:15] OK then, Apollo 13.

[00:01:19] In 1961, the US President John F. Kennedy set the American nation an ambitious goal: to land the first humans on the Moon and bring them safely back to Earth, before the end of the decade.

[00:01:34] This resulted in the Apollo Program, which achieved its goal of landing humans on the Moon with Apollo 11 in 1969.

[00:01:45] Although Kennedy’s challenge was fulfilled when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, NASA hoped to use the remaining “spare” rockets that had been contracted for the program to make a grand total of 10 manned Moon landings. 

[00:02:06] Apollo 13 was meant to take advantage of the newly developed precision landing techniques used by Apollo 12 to land on and explore parts of the Moon. 

[00:02:18] Tasks were to include taking photographs of potential future landing sites as well as surveying work, deploying a lunar experiment package to gather samples and improving astronauts' capacity to work on the surface of the Moon. 

[00:02:34] It was purely a fact-finding mission, a mission to go and collect information about the Moon.

[00:02:42] In fact, Apollo 13’s motto, Ex Luna, scientia means from the Moon, knowledge. 

[00:02:50] The men chosen to go on this mission were three, experienced astronauts.

[00:02:56] The Mission Commander, the captain if you like, was the highly experienced James A. Lovell. 

[00:03:03] He was the oldest of the group, 42 at the time, and had already clocked up over 572 hours in space. 

[00:03:12] Lovell had previously flown other NASA missions including Apollo 8 in 1968. Apollo 8 was the first crewed spacecraft to orbit, to fly around the Moon. 

[00:03:25] Lovell’s experience and cool head would prove crucial, essential, later on in the mission. 

[00:03:33] There were two other astronauts on the crew, both responsible for different parts of the spacecraft.

[00:03:40] The Command Module Pilot of Apollo 13, with the role of navigator, was the 28-year-old John L Swigert. 

[00:03:49] Swigert was originally only part of the backup crew, he was only chosen for Apollo 13 after another member of the crew was exposed to Rubella, an infectious disease.

[00:04:02] The Command Module, by the way, was the part of the spacecraft which housed the crew, the equipment for re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and the operation systems for the spacecraft. You can think of it as a sort of “headquarters”, or HQ, of the spacecraft.

[00:04:19] Behind the Command Module, at one end of the spacecraft, was something called The Service Module, which was a bit like a store room. 

[00:04:29] It was unpressurised and contained things like the fuel cells, oxygen, hydrogen and life support supplies, pretty much all of the supplies that were needed for Apollo 13 to function. 

[00:04:42] At the other end of the spacecraft was The Lunar Module, the bit that was designed for landing on the surface of the Moon. 

[00:04:51] In charge of this part of the spacecraft was the youngest member of the crew, the 26-year-old Fred W. Haise, who had the role of Lunar Module Pilot. 

[00:05:03] When the Apollo spacecraft reached the Moon, the Lunar Module would detach and take two astronauts down to land with its own dedicated power, water and oxygen supplies, while the third crew member would remain in orbit around the Moon in the Command Module. 

[00:05:21] Let’s not forget that the spacecraft crew were assisted by a large and dedicated team back on the ground. NASA’s Mission Control, at the Manned Spacecraft Centre in Houston, would constantly monitor the spacecraft’s every move and tell the astronauts what to do. 

[00:05:40] In essence, ground control was the “fourth” team member of the mission. 

[00:05:45] So, now we have a better idea of the background to the mission, who the crew were and a rough idea of the actual spacecraft, let’s take a look at what actually happened to Apollo 13. 

[00:05:58] After a slight glitch at lift-off, when one of the rocket’s engines shut down early, everything seemed to be going to plan and Apollo 13 left Earth’s orbit on target to fulfil its mission. 

[00:06:11] A glitch, by the way, is another word for a sudden fault or a temporary malfunction

[00:06:17] But other than this small glitch, the first 56 hours or so were pretty uneventful

[00:06:24] So uneventful in fact that when the crew filmed themselves onboard the spacecraft for TV back on Earth, no channels decided to show it. 

[00:06:35] After Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 had landed on the Moon, lunar missions simply weren’t that interesting anymore, they had lost their novelty

[00:06:45] Soon enough, the entire country would be watching. 

[00:06:49] At approximately 56 hours into the flight, when the spacecraft was nearing the moon, Swigert, the Command Module Pilot, was asked to perform a routine piece of maintenance on the oxygen tanks. 

[00:07:03] Mission Control believed that one of the oxygen tank’s pressure reading sensors was malfunctioning, it wasn't working properly. 

[00:07:12] Swigert flipped the switch to run the tank fans, when suddenly there was a loud bang. 

[00:07:19] It later came to light that one of the oxygen tanks had been damaged before lift-off. When the switch was activated, the tank began to dangerously overheat, causing it to explode.

[00:07:32] Alarmed but as of yet unaware of the seriousness of what had happened, the crew uttered those immortal words. “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

[00:07:43] The Apollo 13 film, if you remember it, used a little artistic licence here, changing “we’ve had a problem” to “we have a problem”.

[00:07:53] On a language level, using the “present” tense makes it sound more dramatic, whereas what he really said was “we’ve had a problem”, he was being simply practical and direct, explaining what had happened. 

[00:08:09] In the moments that followed, the crew and the team at Mission Control got to work trying to establish what exactly had happened, running checks and consulting the ground team’s backroom specialists. 

[00:08:22] Power to the propulsion system began to drop considerably and two out of the spacecraft’s three fuel cells read as being completely out of power. 

[00:08:34] Apollo 13’s fuel cells needed oxygen to power the spacecraft and oxygen tank number two was reading empty, while tank number one seemed to be losing pressure. 

[00:08:46] At this point the team was hoping that there were just sensor issues but the severity of their problems was just beginning to dawn on them, they were starting to realise that they were hundreds of thousands of kilometres away from Earth without any good options about how to get back.

[00:09:04] Lovell reported seeing gas pouring out from the spacecraft as he looked out of the window. It was now very clear that this was much more than just a sensor problem.

[00:09:15] As tank one lost more and more oxygen, it became apparent that very soon the last working fuel cell would cut out too. 

[00:09:23] At approximately 330,000 km from the Earth, Apollo 13 was about to lose all of its life systems and power. 

[00:09:33] It was clear that they wouldn't be able to make it to the Moon. Their only focus was on getting back home, getting back to Earth, alive.

[00:09:41] Quick thinking was needed as the mission abruptly changed from a lunar landing mission to a rescue mission. 

[00:09:50] Soon the Command Module would be unable to keep the crew alive in Space, it would very shortly run completely out of power and oxygen. 

[00:10:00] But the Command Module was the only way the crew could re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. It had a thick heat shield, radios, parachutes and everything else that was required to get back to Earth. 

[00:10:14] They couldn’t re-enter Earth in the Lunar or Service Modules, the Command Module was the only way they could get back home, but it was about to run out of all of its life supplies unless something was done.

[00:10:28] The crew managed to isolate the Command Module’s spare oxygen tank and its batteries so that they could conserve power and oxygen.

[00:10:38] As they were still uncertain as to what had actually happened, Houston, Mission Control back on Earth, did not want to risk trying to use the last bit of remaining power to abort the mission and turn straight back to Earth.

[00:10:52] There were worries that the Service Module’s main engine could be damaged or that there simply wouldn't be enough fuel to get back.

[00:11:01] The plan was to move the astronauts into the Lunar module, while they essentially switched off everything in the Command module to conserve as much oxygen and energy to get back to Earth. 

[00:11:15] The spacecraft would then do something called a free-return trajectory and loop around the Moon, back towards Earth. 

[00:11:23] Once the crew reached Earth, they could then return to the Command Module and start re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. 

[00:11:32] Just to reiterate that, at the time of the explosion the spacecraft was heading towards the moon, away from the Earth. Instead of turning back towards Earth, which would have used more energy, they decided to continue all the way looping around the Moon, using the gravitational pull of Earth to bring the spacecraft back home.

[00:11:55] It was a bold plan. 

[00:11:58] Remember, the Lunar Module, where the astronauts were now squeezed into, had only been built to carry two members from the Moon’s orbit to the Moon’s surface and back to the Command Module, a distance of less than 100km. 

[00:12:13] It wasn’t meant for any sizable space travel, any space travel of any serious length.

[00:12:20] Frantically, NASA’s team on the ground got to work crunching figures and trajectories, while trying to come up with ways of how they could make the limited power and water supply last until re-entry.

[00:12:35] While the Lunar Module had just enough oxygen to keep the crew alive, with the Command Module in hibernation, they risked running out of water. Water was not only required for drinking, it was also essential for cooling the equipment onboard.

[00:12:52] Normally the Command Module would produce water as a byproduct of its hydrogen and oxygen fuel cells. The Lunar Module did not. 

[00:13:02] Water was therefore rationed to 200 millilitres per person per day and power consumption was cut to a minimum, even requiring them to turn off their guidance computer. 

[00:13:16] The three men were floating in a tiny container with barely anything to drink while the temperature was just above freezing point.

[00:13:26] While they had enough oxygen, they soon began to have a problem with carbon dioxide build up

[00:13:32] Normally, carbon dioxide would be removed from the cabin air by canisters of special pellets but as the Lunar Module was only designed for short-term use, they were soon all used up

[00:13:47] After a day and a half in the cramped Lunar Module, the CO2 levels had become life threatening. 

[00:13:54] The Command Module had a supply of extra canisters but they were a different shape and size to those used in the Lunar Module. Frantically, the ground support team got to work on creating a workaround using the same materials that the astronauts had access to on board. 

[00:14:12] NASA came up with a fix using manual covers, tape and cardboard, amongst other things, and then talked the crew through building the adapter step-by-step. 

[00:14:24] Imagine the frustration and difficulty of calling up the IKEA helpline asking how to assemble a cupboard, but the difference being that here you don’t have the right parts, you are calling on a very bad telephone line from 300,000 kilometres away in Space and it is literally a matter of life and death.

[00:14:46] Thankfully it worked and the CO2 levels started to drop as soon as they installed the completed improvised canister

[00:14:55] With most of the module’s systems switched off, temperatures had plummeted to just 3 degrees celsius. The crew were uncomfortable, cold and cramped, but they were alive and headed home, or at least they were now headed in the direction of Earth.

[00:15:12] But actually getting to Earth, getting home safely, would be no mean feat

[00:15:19] At 133 hours into the spaceflight, Houston asked the crew to fully power up the Lunar Module in preparation for bringing the Command Module back online. The team wanted to make sure that they had enough time to work through rebooting, restarting, the system.

[00:15:37] An Apollo Command Module had never been shut down and restarted in Space before. Plus the power was limited and the team on the ground would need to figure out the best way for the quickest restart. 

[00:15:51] Thankfully the crew were able to implement the new procedures and restart the Command Module’s systems without too much difficulty.

[00:15:59] Not only did this raise the cabin temperature making it more hospitable for the crew, but it also meant that the guidance computer was back up and running. 

[00:16:10] As Apollo neared the Earth two more minor adjustments were needed to correct its course. 

[00:16:16] Around 200 hours into the mission the crew jettisoned, they cast off, the Service Module. 

[00:16:22] They could have done this earlier in theory, but the Service Module covered the Command Module’s heat shield and NASA was uncertain of the consequences of leaving it exposed in Space. 

[00:16:35] And remember, it was in this part of the spacecraft, in the Service Module, that the oxygen tank had exploded.

[00:16:43] As the crew jettisoned the Service Module, they got their first chance to look at the damage. They discovered that an entire panel of the module’s exterior had been blown off

[00:16:55] If it hadn’t been sufficiently clear before, the crew had been, and still were, in extreme danger and surviving even this far they had already beaten all of the odds.

[00:17:08] Approaching re-entry, as the crew moved back to the Command Module, the last major problem that needed a quick solution was how to get rid of the Lunar Module.

[00:17:19] On normal missions, the Lunar Module would be jettisoned over the Moon when the Command and Service Module was in lunar orbit and the astronauts had safely returned to the Command Module spacecraft after their Moonwalk.

[00:17:33] But this was no “normal” mission, and the crew had been using this Lunar Module as a temporary storage, it was their lifeboat home. 

[00:17:43] Once the ground teams had figured out how to best release the Lunar Module, the crew jettisoned it to land deep in a trench in the Pacific Ocean. 

[00:17:53] Re-entry had begun and the crew hurtled down through the Earth’s atmosphere for the final nail-biting moments of their mission.

[00:18:02] As Apollo 13 entered the final minutes of its spaceflight, millions of people around the World were following it live on TV and radio. The entire United States was gripped by the astronautsordeal, with men, women and children hoping and praying that they would survive the re-entry process after having made it so far in such impossible conditions. 

[00:18:27] As with all re-entry procedures, contact was lost with the crew as they began their descent. 

[00:18:34] Unknown to the crew, Apollo 13’s trajectory, its direction, had been slightly adjusted by the Lunar Module’s cooling system on the way back from the Moon. 

[00:18:46] This meant that when Apollo 13 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, its angle of descent caused it to spend more time than expected at higher atmospheric levels where slowing down takes longer. 

[00:19:00] Instead of the usual four minutes of radio blackout, there was no contact with the crew for six whole minutes. This was an extremely tense moment on the ground - some people even thought that the Command Module's heat shield had failed. 

[00:19:19] The crew eventually splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, near American Samoa, where they were recovered by American military ships. All three crew members were alive and well, although Haise was suffering from a urinary tract infection, probably due to the lack of water.

[00:19:38] After a night on the recovery ship, they then flew to Hawaii where they were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour, by President Richard Nixon. 

[00:19:50] Little known to the Apollo 13 crew, the entire country, and really much of the world, had been following their progress and praying for their safe return. In America alone, over 40 million people watched the Apollo 13 splashdown on TV.

[00:20:08] The crew and their perilous journey made headlines around the world.

[00:20:12] Lovell went on to call the Apollo 13 mission a “successful failure”. While there were evident failures, the crew were saved by the unprecedented cooperation between the ground team and the astronauts

[00:20:26] Not to mention the crew’s nerves of steel and professional training that allowed them to continuously focus and work even under the extreme pressure of being in a protracted, an extended, life-or-death situation.

[00:20:42] The Apollo 13 rescue mission highlighted the risks of manned space travel and combined with decreasing public interest in the space programme and huge budget cuts, the Apollo Program was cut short, ending with Apollo 17 in December 1972, when Eugene Cernan became the last human to walk on the Moon. 

[00:21:05] The story of Apollo 13 might be a lesson to us all about the dangers of putting humans in space, but it is also one of hope and inspiration, of perseverance, of resourcefulness, of teamwork, of the importance of staying calm under pressure, and it’s no surprise that it is often referred to as NASA’s “finest hour”. 

[00:21:31] OK then, that is it for today's episode on Apollo 13.

[00:21:36] I hope it’s been an interesting one, and you’ve learned a bit about what actually happened during the ill-fated space flight and the story behind the crew’s miraculous survival. 

[00:21:46] As always, I would love to know what you thought about this episode.

[00:21:50] Do you think we will see humans on the Moon again in your lifetime?

[00:21:54] What about colonising Mars, is this just a dream, or will you live to see humans on Mars?

[00:22:00] And if you could take a trip to space, if money was no object, would you do it?

[00:22:06] I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started. 

[00:22:10] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:22:18] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:22:23] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]

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[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:11] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about Apollo 13.

[00:00:27] It was meant to be the third manned space mission to the Moon, a routine scientific journey, and for the first two days pretty much everything went to plan.

[00:00:38] But, 56 hours after lift-off and 330,000km from Earth, a defective oxygen tank exploded onboard, destroying Apollo 13's main life support and propulsion systems and leaving it stranded in space.

[00:00:55] It would become an epic story that captivated the nation, a story of heroism and bravery, of quick thinking, and hope against all odds.

[00:01:06] You may know something already about Apollo 13, you may even have seen the film, but today we are going to tell this epic tale.

[00:01:15] OK then, Apollo 13.

[00:01:19] In 1961, the US President John F. Kennedy set the American nation an ambitious goal: to land the first humans on the Moon and bring them safely back to Earth, before the end of the decade.

[00:01:34] This resulted in the Apollo Program, which achieved its goal of landing humans on the Moon with Apollo 11 in 1969.

[00:01:45] Although Kennedy’s challenge was fulfilled when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, NASA hoped to use the remaining “spare” rockets that had been contracted for the program to make a grand total of 10 manned Moon landings. 

[00:02:06] Apollo 13 was meant to take advantage of the newly developed precision landing techniques used by Apollo 12 to land on and explore parts of the Moon. 

[00:02:18] Tasks were to include taking photographs of potential future landing sites as well as surveying work, deploying a lunar experiment package to gather samples and improving astronauts' capacity to work on the surface of the Moon. 

[00:02:34] It was purely a fact-finding mission, a mission to go and collect information about the Moon.

[00:02:42] In fact, Apollo 13’s motto, Ex Luna, scientia means from the Moon, knowledge. 

[00:02:50] The men chosen to go on this mission were three, experienced astronauts.

[00:02:56] The Mission Commander, the captain if you like, was the highly experienced James A. Lovell. 

[00:03:03] He was the oldest of the group, 42 at the time, and had already clocked up over 572 hours in space. 

[00:03:12] Lovell had previously flown other NASA missions including Apollo 8 in 1968. Apollo 8 was the first crewed spacecraft to orbit, to fly around the Moon. 

[00:03:25] Lovell’s experience and cool head would prove crucial, essential, later on in the mission. 

[00:03:33] There were two other astronauts on the crew, both responsible for different parts of the spacecraft.

[00:03:40] The Command Module Pilot of Apollo 13, with the role of navigator, was the 28-year-old John L Swigert. 

[00:03:49] Swigert was originally only part of the backup crew, he was only chosen for Apollo 13 after another member of the crew was exposed to Rubella, an infectious disease.

[00:04:02] The Command Module, by the way, was the part of the spacecraft which housed the crew, the equipment for re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and the operation systems for the spacecraft. You can think of it as a sort of “headquarters”, or HQ, of the spacecraft.

[00:04:19] Behind the Command Module, at one end of the spacecraft, was something called The Service Module, which was a bit like a store room. 

[00:04:29] It was unpressurised and contained things like the fuel cells, oxygen, hydrogen and life support supplies, pretty much all of the supplies that were needed for Apollo 13 to function. 

[00:04:42] At the other end of the spacecraft was The Lunar Module, the bit that was designed for landing on the surface of the Moon. 

[00:04:51] In charge of this part of the spacecraft was the youngest member of the crew, the 26-year-old Fred W. Haise, who had the role of Lunar Module Pilot. 

[00:05:03] When the Apollo spacecraft reached the Moon, the Lunar Module would detach and take two astronauts down to land with its own dedicated power, water and oxygen supplies, while the third crew member would remain in orbit around the Moon in the Command Module. 

[00:05:21] Let’s not forget that the spacecraft crew were assisted by a large and dedicated team back on the ground. NASA’s Mission Control, at the Manned Spacecraft Centre in Houston, would constantly monitor the spacecraft’s every move and tell the astronauts what to do. 

[00:05:40] In essence, ground control was the “fourth” team member of the mission. 

[00:05:45] So, now we have a better idea of the background to the mission, who the crew were and a rough idea of the actual spacecraft, let’s take a look at what actually happened to Apollo 13. 

[00:05:58] After a slight glitch at lift-off, when one of the rocket’s engines shut down early, everything seemed to be going to plan and Apollo 13 left Earth’s orbit on target to fulfil its mission. 

[00:06:11] A glitch, by the way, is another word for a sudden fault or a temporary malfunction

[00:06:17] But other than this small glitch, the first 56 hours or so were pretty uneventful

[00:06:24] So uneventful in fact that when the crew filmed themselves onboard the spacecraft for TV back on Earth, no channels decided to show it. 

[00:06:35] After Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 had landed on the Moon, lunar missions simply weren’t that interesting anymore, they had lost their novelty

[00:06:45] Soon enough, the entire country would be watching. 

[00:06:49] At approximately 56 hours into the flight, when the spacecraft was nearing the moon, Swigert, the Command Module Pilot, was asked to perform a routine piece of maintenance on the oxygen tanks. 

[00:07:03] Mission Control believed that one of the oxygen tank’s pressure reading sensors was malfunctioning, it wasn't working properly. 

[00:07:12] Swigert flipped the switch to run the tank fans, when suddenly there was a loud bang. 

[00:07:19] It later came to light that one of the oxygen tanks had been damaged before lift-off. When the switch was activated, the tank began to dangerously overheat, causing it to explode.

[00:07:32] Alarmed but as of yet unaware of the seriousness of what had happened, the crew uttered those immortal words. “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

[00:07:43] The Apollo 13 film, if you remember it, used a little artistic licence here, changing “we’ve had a problem” to “we have a problem”.

[00:07:53] On a language level, using the “present” tense makes it sound more dramatic, whereas what he really said was “we’ve had a problem”, he was being simply practical and direct, explaining what had happened. 

[00:08:09] In the moments that followed, the crew and the team at Mission Control got to work trying to establish what exactly had happened, running checks and consulting the ground team’s backroom specialists. 

[00:08:22] Power to the propulsion system began to drop considerably and two out of the spacecraft’s three fuel cells read as being completely out of power. 

[00:08:34] Apollo 13’s fuel cells needed oxygen to power the spacecraft and oxygen tank number two was reading empty, while tank number one seemed to be losing pressure. 

[00:08:46] At this point the team was hoping that there were just sensor issues but the severity of their problems was just beginning to dawn on them, they were starting to realise that they were hundreds of thousands of kilometres away from Earth without any good options about how to get back.

[00:09:04] Lovell reported seeing gas pouring out from the spacecraft as he looked out of the window. It was now very clear that this was much more than just a sensor problem.

[00:09:15] As tank one lost more and more oxygen, it became apparent that very soon the last working fuel cell would cut out too. 

[00:09:23] At approximately 330,000 km from the Earth, Apollo 13 was about to lose all of its life systems and power. 

[00:09:33] It was clear that they wouldn't be able to make it to the Moon. Their only focus was on getting back home, getting back to Earth, alive.

[00:09:41] Quick thinking was needed as the mission abruptly changed from a lunar landing mission to a rescue mission. 

[00:09:50] Soon the Command Module would be unable to keep the crew alive in Space, it would very shortly run completely out of power and oxygen. 

[00:10:00] But the Command Module was the only way the crew could re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. It had a thick heat shield, radios, parachutes and everything else that was required to get back to Earth. 

[00:10:14] They couldn’t re-enter Earth in the Lunar or Service Modules, the Command Module was the only way they could get back home, but it was about to run out of all of its life supplies unless something was done.

[00:10:28] The crew managed to isolate the Command Module’s spare oxygen tank and its batteries so that they could conserve power and oxygen.

[00:10:38] As they were still uncertain as to what had actually happened, Houston, Mission Control back on Earth, did not want to risk trying to use the last bit of remaining power to abort the mission and turn straight back to Earth.

[00:10:52] There were worries that the Service Module’s main engine could be damaged or that there simply wouldn't be enough fuel to get back.

[00:11:01] The plan was to move the astronauts into the Lunar module, while they essentially switched off everything in the Command module to conserve as much oxygen and energy to get back to Earth. 

[00:11:15] The spacecraft would then do something called a free-return trajectory and loop around the Moon, back towards Earth. 

[00:11:23] Once the crew reached Earth, they could then return to the Command Module and start re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. 

[00:11:32] Just to reiterate that, at the time of the explosion the spacecraft was heading towards the moon, away from the Earth. Instead of turning back towards Earth, which would have used more energy, they decided to continue all the way looping around the Moon, using the gravitational pull of Earth to bring the spacecraft back home.

[00:11:55] It was a bold plan. 

[00:11:58] Remember, the Lunar Module, where the astronauts were now squeezed into, had only been built to carry two members from the Moon’s orbit to the Moon’s surface and back to the Command Module, a distance of less than 100km. 

[00:12:13] It wasn’t meant for any sizable space travel, any space travel of any serious length.

[00:12:20] Frantically, NASA’s team on the ground got to work crunching figures and trajectories, while trying to come up with ways of how they could make the limited power and water supply last until re-entry.

[00:12:35] While the Lunar Module had just enough oxygen to keep the crew alive, with the Command Module in hibernation, they risked running out of water. Water was not only required for drinking, it was also essential for cooling the equipment onboard.

[00:12:52] Normally the Command Module would produce water as a byproduct of its hydrogen and oxygen fuel cells. The Lunar Module did not. 

[00:13:02] Water was therefore rationed to 200 millilitres per person per day and power consumption was cut to a minimum, even requiring them to turn off their guidance computer. 

[00:13:16] The three men were floating in a tiny container with barely anything to drink while the temperature was just above freezing point.

[00:13:26] While they had enough oxygen, they soon began to have a problem with carbon dioxide build up

[00:13:32] Normally, carbon dioxide would be removed from the cabin air by canisters of special pellets but as the Lunar Module was only designed for short-term use, they were soon all used up

[00:13:47] After a day and a half in the cramped Lunar Module, the CO2 levels had become life threatening. 

[00:13:54] The Command Module had a supply of extra canisters but they were a different shape and size to those used in the Lunar Module. Frantically, the ground support team got to work on creating a workaround using the same materials that the astronauts had access to on board. 

[00:14:12] NASA came up with a fix using manual covers, tape and cardboard, amongst other things, and then talked the crew through building the adapter step-by-step. 

[00:14:24] Imagine the frustration and difficulty of calling up the IKEA helpline asking how to assemble a cupboard, but the difference being that here you don’t have the right parts, you are calling on a very bad telephone line from 300,000 kilometres away in Space and it is literally a matter of life and death.

[00:14:46] Thankfully it worked and the CO2 levels started to drop as soon as they installed the completed improvised canister

[00:14:55] With most of the module’s systems switched off, temperatures had plummeted to just 3 degrees celsius. The crew were uncomfortable, cold and cramped, but they were alive and headed home, or at least they were now headed in the direction of Earth.

[00:15:12] But actually getting to Earth, getting home safely, would be no mean feat

[00:15:19] At 133 hours into the spaceflight, Houston asked the crew to fully power up the Lunar Module in preparation for bringing the Command Module back online. The team wanted to make sure that they had enough time to work through rebooting, restarting, the system.

[00:15:37] An Apollo Command Module had never been shut down and restarted in Space before. Plus the power was limited and the team on the ground would need to figure out the best way for the quickest restart. 

[00:15:51] Thankfully the crew were able to implement the new procedures and restart the Command Module’s systems without too much difficulty.

[00:15:59] Not only did this raise the cabin temperature making it more hospitable for the crew, but it also meant that the guidance computer was back up and running. 

[00:16:10] As Apollo neared the Earth two more minor adjustments were needed to correct its course. 

[00:16:16] Around 200 hours into the mission the crew jettisoned, they cast off, the Service Module. 

[00:16:22] They could have done this earlier in theory, but the Service Module covered the Command Module’s heat shield and NASA was uncertain of the consequences of leaving it exposed in Space. 

[00:16:35] And remember, it was in this part of the spacecraft, in the Service Module, that the oxygen tank had exploded.

[00:16:43] As the crew jettisoned the Service Module, they got their first chance to look at the damage. They discovered that an entire panel of the module’s exterior had been blown off

[00:16:55] If it hadn’t been sufficiently clear before, the crew had been, and still were, in extreme danger and surviving even this far they had already beaten all of the odds.

[00:17:08] Approaching re-entry, as the crew moved back to the Command Module, the last major problem that needed a quick solution was how to get rid of the Lunar Module.

[00:17:19] On normal missions, the Lunar Module would be jettisoned over the Moon when the Command and Service Module was in lunar orbit and the astronauts had safely returned to the Command Module spacecraft after their Moonwalk.

[00:17:33] But this was no “normal” mission, and the crew had been using this Lunar Module as a temporary storage, it was their lifeboat home. 

[00:17:43] Once the ground teams had figured out how to best release the Lunar Module, the crew jettisoned it to land deep in a trench in the Pacific Ocean. 

[00:17:53] Re-entry had begun and the crew hurtled down through the Earth’s atmosphere for the final nail-biting moments of their mission.

[00:18:02] As Apollo 13 entered the final minutes of its spaceflight, millions of people around the World were following it live on TV and radio. The entire United States was gripped by the astronautsordeal, with men, women and children hoping and praying that they would survive the re-entry process after having made it so far in such impossible conditions. 

[00:18:27] As with all re-entry procedures, contact was lost with the crew as they began their descent. 

[00:18:34] Unknown to the crew, Apollo 13’s trajectory, its direction, had been slightly adjusted by the Lunar Module’s cooling system on the way back from the Moon. 

[00:18:46] This meant that when Apollo 13 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, its angle of descent caused it to spend more time than expected at higher atmospheric levels where slowing down takes longer. 

[00:19:00] Instead of the usual four minutes of radio blackout, there was no contact with the crew for six whole minutes. This was an extremely tense moment on the ground - some people even thought that the Command Module's heat shield had failed. 

[00:19:19] The crew eventually splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, near American Samoa, where they were recovered by American military ships. All three crew members were alive and well, although Haise was suffering from a urinary tract infection, probably due to the lack of water.

[00:19:38] After a night on the recovery ship, they then flew to Hawaii where they were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour, by President Richard Nixon. 

[00:19:50] Little known to the Apollo 13 crew, the entire country, and really much of the world, had been following their progress and praying for their safe return. In America alone, over 40 million people watched the Apollo 13 splashdown on TV.

[00:20:08] The crew and their perilous journey made headlines around the world.

[00:20:12] Lovell went on to call the Apollo 13 mission a “successful failure”. While there were evident failures, the crew were saved by the unprecedented cooperation between the ground team and the astronauts

[00:20:26] Not to mention the crew’s nerves of steel and professional training that allowed them to continuously focus and work even under the extreme pressure of being in a protracted, an extended, life-or-death situation.

[00:20:42] The Apollo 13 rescue mission highlighted the risks of manned space travel and combined with decreasing public interest in the space programme and huge budget cuts, the Apollo Program was cut short, ending with Apollo 17 in December 1972, when Eugene Cernan became the last human to walk on the Moon. 

[00:21:05] The story of Apollo 13 might be a lesson to us all about the dangers of putting humans in space, but it is also one of hope and inspiration, of perseverance, of resourcefulness, of teamwork, of the importance of staying calm under pressure, and it’s no surprise that it is often referred to as NASA’s “finest hour”. 

[00:21:31] OK then, that is it for today's episode on Apollo 13.

[00:21:36] I hope it’s been an interesting one, and you’ve learned a bit about what actually happened during the ill-fated space flight and the story behind the crew’s miraculous survival. 

[00:21:46] As always, I would love to know what you thought about this episode.

[00:21:50] Do you think we will see humans on the Moon again in your lifetime?

[00:21:54] What about colonising Mars, is this just a dream, or will you live to see humans on Mars?

[00:22:00] And if you could take a trip to space, if money was no object, would you do it?

[00:22:06] I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started. 

[00:22:10] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:22:18] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:22:23] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]

[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:11] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about Apollo 13.

[00:00:27] It was meant to be the third manned space mission to the Moon, a routine scientific journey, and for the first two days pretty much everything went to plan.

[00:00:38] But, 56 hours after lift-off and 330,000km from Earth, a defective oxygen tank exploded onboard, destroying Apollo 13's main life support and propulsion systems and leaving it stranded in space.

[00:00:55] It would become an epic story that captivated the nation, a story of heroism and bravery, of quick thinking, and hope against all odds.

[00:01:06] You may know something already about Apollo 13, you may even have seen the film, but today we are going to tell this epic tale.

[00:01:15] OK then, Apollo 13.

[00:01:19] In 1961, the US President John F. Kennedy set the American nation an ambitious goal: to land the first humans on the Moon and bring them safely back to Earth, before the end of the decade.

[00:01:34] This resulted in the Apollo Program, which achieved its goal of landing humans on the Moon with Apollo 11 in 1969.

[00:01:45] Although Kennedy’s challenge was fulfilled when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, NASA hoped to use the remaining “spare” rockets that had been contracted for the program to make a grand total of 10 manned Moon landings. 

[00:02:06] Apollo 13 was meant to take advantage of the newly developed precision landing techniques used by Apollo 12 to land on and explore parts of the Moon. 

[00:02:18] Tasks were to include taking photographs of potential future landing sites as well as surveying work, deploying a lunar experiment package to gather samples and improving astronauts' capacity to work on the surface of the Moon. 

[00:02:34] It was purely a fact-finding mission, a mission to go and collect information about the Moon.

[00:02:42] In fact, Apollo 13’s motto, Ex Luna, scientia means from the Moon, knowledge. 

[00:02:50] The men chosen to go on this mission were three, experienced astronauts.

[00:02:56] The Mission Commander, the captain if you like, was the highly experienced James A. Lovell. 

[00:03:03] He was the oldest of the group, 42 at the time, and had already clocked up over 572 hours in space. 

[00:03:12] Lovell had previously flown other NASA missions including Apollo 8 in 1968. Apollo 8 was the first crewed spacecraft to orbit, to fly around the Moon. 

[00:03:25] Lovell’s experience and cool head would prove crucial, essential, later on in the mission. 

[00:03:33] There were two other astronauts on the crew, both responsible for different parts of the spacecraft.

[00:03:40] The Command Module Pilot of Apollo 13, with the role of navigator, was the 28-year-old John L Swigert. 

[00:03:49] Swigert was originally only part of the backup crew, he was only chosen for Apollo 13 after another member of the crew was exposed to Rubella, an infectious disease.

[00:04:02] The Command Module, by the way, was the part of the spacecraft which housed the crew, the equipment for re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and the operation systems for the spacecraft. You can think of it as a sort of “headquarters”, or HQ, of the spacecraft.

[00:04:19] Behind the Command Module, at one end of the spacecraft, was something called The Service Module, which was a bit like a store room. 

[00:04:29] It was unpressurised and contained things like the fuel cells, oxygen, hydrogen and life support supplies, pretty much all of the supplies that were needed for Apollo 13 to function. 

[00:04:42] At the other end of the spacecraft was The Lunar Module, the bit that was designed for landing on the surface of the Moon. 

[00:04:51] In charge of this part of the spacecraft was the youngest member of the crew, the 26-year-old Fred W. Haise, who had the role of Lunar Module Pilot. 

[00:05:03] When the Apollo spacecraft reached the Moon, the Lunar Module would detach and take two astronauts down to land with its own dedicated power, water and oxygen supplies, while the third crew member would remain in orbit around the Moon in the Command Module. 

[00:05:21] Let’s not forget that the spacecraft crew were assisted by a large and dedicated team back on the ground. NASA’s Mission Control, at the Manned Spacecraft Centre in Houston, would constantly monitor the spacecraft’s every move and tell the astronauts what to do. 

[00:05:40] In essence, ground control was the “fourth” team member of the mission. 

[00:05:45] So, now we have a better idea of the background to the mission, who the crew were and a rough idea of the actual spacecraft, let’s take a look at what actually happened to Apollo 13. 

[00:05:58] After a slight glitch at lift-off, when one of the rocket’s engines shut down early, everything seemed to be going to plan and Apollo 13 left Earth’s orbit on target to fulfil its mission. 

[00:06:11] A glitch, by the way, is another word for a sudden fault or a temporary malfunction

[00:06:17] But other than this small glitch, the first 56 hours or so were pretty uneventful

[00:06:24] So uneventful in fact that when the crew filmed themselves onboard the spacecraft for TV back on Earth, no channels decided to show it. 

[00:06:35] After Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 had landed on the Moon, lunar missions simply weren’t that interesting anymore, they had lost their novelty

[00:06:45] Soon enough, the entire country would be watching. 

[00:06:49] At approximately 56 hours into the flight, when the spacecraft was nearing the moon, Swigert, the Command Module Pilot, was asked to perform a routine piece of maintenance on the oxygen tanks. 

[00:07:03] Mission Control believed that one of the oxygen tank’s pressure reading sensors was malfunctioning, it wasn't working properly. 

[00:07:12] Swigert flipped the switch to run the tank fans, when suddenly there was a loud bang. 

[00:07:19] It later came to light that one of the oxygen tanks had been damaged before lift-off. When the switch was activated, the tank began to dangerously overheat, causing it to explode.

[00:07:32] Alarmed but as of yet unaware of the seriousness of what had happened, the crew uttered those immortal words. “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

[00:07:43] The Apollo 13 film, if you remember it, used a little artistic licence here, changing “we’ve had a problem” to “we have a problem”.

[00:07:53] On a language level, using the “present” tense makes it sound more dramatic, whereas what he really said was “we’ve had a problem”, he was being simply practical and direct, explaining what had happened. 

[00:08:09] In the moments that followed, the crew and the team at Mission Control got to work trying to establish what exactly had happened, running checks and consulting the ground team’s backroom specialists. 

[00:08:22] Power to the propulsion system began to drop considerably and two out of the spacecraft’s three fuel cells read as being completely out of power. 

[00:08:34] Apollo 13’s fuel cells needed oxygen to power the spacecraft and oxygen tank number two was reading empty, while tank number one seemed to be losing pressure. 

[00:08:46] At this point the team was hoping that there were just sensor issues but the severity of their problems was just beginning to dawn on them, they were starting to realise that they were hundreds of thousands of kilometres away from Earth without any good options about how to get back.

[00:09:04] Lovell reported seeing gas pouring out from the spacecraft as he looked out of the window. It was now very clear that this was much more than just a sensor problem.

[00:09:15] As tank one lost more and more oxygen, it became apparent that very soon the last working fuel cell would cut out too. 

[00:09:23] At approximately 330,000 km from the Earth, Apollo 13 was about to lose all of its life systems and power. 

[00:09:33] It was clear that they wouldn't be able to make it to the Moon. Their only focus was on getting back home, getting back to Earth, alive.

[00:09:41] Quick thinking was needed as the mission abruptly changed from a lunar landing mission to a rescue mission. 

[00:09:50] Soon the Command Module would be unable to keep the crew alive in Space, it would very shortly run completely out of power and oxygen. 

[00:10:00] But the Command Module was the only way the crew could re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. It had a thick heat shield, radios, parachutes and everything else that was required to get back to Earth. 

[00:10:14] They couldn’t re-enter Earth in the Lunar or Service Modules, the Command Module was the only way they could get back home, but it was about to run out of all of its life supplies unless something was done.

[00:10:28] The crew managed to isolate the Command Module’s spare oxygen tank and its batteries so that they could conserve power and oxygen.

[00:10:38] As they were still uncertain as to what had actually happened, Houston, Mission Control back on Earth, did not want to risk trying to use the last bit of remaining power to abort the mission and turn straight back to Earth.

[00:10:52] There were worries that the Service Module’s main engine could be damaged or that there simply wouldn't be enough fuel to get back.

[00:11:01] The plan was to move the astronauts into the Lunar module, while they essentially switched off everything in the Command module to conserve as much oxygen and energy to get back to Earth. 

[00:11:15] The spacecraft would then do something called a free-return trajectory and loop around the Moon, back towards Earth. 

[00:11:23] Once the crew reached Earth, they could then return to the Command Module and start re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. 

[00:11:32] Just to reiterate that, at the time of the explosion the spacecraft was heading towards the moon, away from the Earth. Instead of turning back towards Earth, which would have used more energy, they decided to continue all the way looping around the Moon, using the gravitational pull of Earth to bring the spacecraft back home.

[00:11:55] It was a bold plan. 

[00:11:58] Remember, the Lunar Module, where the astronauts were now squeezed into, had only been built to carry two members from the Moon’s orbit to the Moon’s surface and back to the Command Module, a distance of less than 100km. 

[00:12:13] It wasn’t meant for any sizable space travel, any space travel of any serious length.

[00:12:20] Frantically, NASA’s team on the ground got to work crunching figures and trajectories, while trying to come up with ways of how they could make the limited power and water supply last until re-entry.

[00:12:35] While the Lunar Module had just enough oxygen to keep the crew alive, with the Command Module in hibernation, they risked running out of water. Water was not only required for drinking, it was also essential for cooling the equipment onboard.

[00:12:52] Normally the Command Module would produce water as a byproduct of its hydrogen and oxygen fuel cells. The Lunar Module did not. 

[00:13:02] Water was therefore rationed to 200 millilitres per person per day and power consumption was cut to a minimum, even requiring them to turn off their guidance computer. 

[00:13:16] The three men were floating in a tiny container with barely anything to drink while the temperature was just above freezing point.

[00:13:26] While they had enough oxygen, they soon began to have a problem with carbon dioxide build up

[00:13:32] Normally, carbon dioxide would be removed from the cabin air by canisters of special pellets but as the Lunar Module was only designed for short-term use, they were soon all used up

[00:13:47] After a day and a half in the cramped Lunar Module, the CO2 levels had become life threatening. 

[00:13:54] The Command Module had a supply of extra canisters but they were a different shape and size to those used in the Lunar Module. Frantically, the ground support team got to work on creating a workaround using the same materials that the astronauts had access to on board. 

[00:14:12] NASA came up with a fix using manual covers, tape and cardboard, amongst other things, and then talked the crew through building the adapter step-by-step. 

[00:14:24] Imagine the frustration and difficulty of calling up the IKEA helpline asking how to assemble a cupboard, but the difference being that here you don’t have the right parts, you are calling on a very bad telephone line from 300,000 kilometres away in Space and it is literally a matter of life and death.

[00:14:46] Thankfully it worked and the CO2 levels started to drop as soon as they installed the completed improvised canister

[00:14:55] With most of the module’s systems switched off, temperatures had plummeted to just 3 degrees celsius. The crew were uncomfortable, cold and cramped, but they were alive and headed home, or at least they were now headed in the direction of Earth.

[00:15:12] But actually getting to Earth, getting home safely, would be no mean feat

[00:15:19] At 133 hours into the spaceflight, Houston asked the crew to fully power up the Lunar Module in preparation for bringing the Command Module back online. The team wanted to make sure that they had enough time to work through rebooting, restarting, the system.

[00:15:37] An Apollo Command Module had never been shut down and restarted in Space before. Plus the power was limited and the team on the ground would need to figure out the best way for the quickest restart. 

[00:15:51] Thankfully the crew were able to implement the new procedures and restart the Command Module’s systems without too much difficulty.

[00:15:59] Not only did this raise the cabin temperature making it more hospitable for the crew, but it also meant that the guidance computer was back up and running. 

[00:16:10] As Apollo neared the Earth two more minor adjustments were needed to correct its course. 

[00:16:16] Around 200 hours into the mission the crew jettisoned, they cast off, the Service Module. 

[00:16:22] They could have done this earlier in theory, but the Service Module covered the Command Module’s heat shield and NASA was uncertain of the consequences of leaving it exposed in Space. 

[00:16:35] And remember, it was in this part of the spacecraft, in the Service Module, that the oxygen tank had exploded.

[00:16:43] As the crew jettisoned the Service Module, they got their first chance to look at the damage. They discovered that an entire panel of the module’s exterior had been blown off

[00:16:55] If it hadn’t been sufficiently clear before, the crew had been, and still were, in extreme danger and surviving even this far they had already beaten all of the odds.

[00:17:08] Approaching re-entry, as the crew moved back to the Command Module, the last major problem that needed a quick solution was how to get rid of the Lunar Module.

[00:17:19] On normal missions, the Lunar Module would be jettisoned over the Moon when the Command and Service Module was in lunar orbit and the astronauts had safely returned to the Command Module spacecraft after their Moonwalk.

[00:17:33] But this was no “normal” mission, and the crew had been using this Lunar Module as a temporary storage, it was their lifeboat home. 

[00:17:43] Once the ground teams had figured out how to best release the Lunar Module, the crew jettisoned it to land deep in a trench in the Pacific Ocean. 

[00:17:53] Re-entry had begun and the crew hurtled down through the Earth’s atmosphere for the final nail-biting moments of their mission.

[00:18:02] As Apollo 13 entered the final minutes of its spaceflight, millions of people around the World were following it live on TV and radio. The entire United States was gripped by the astronautsordeal, with men, women and children hoping and praying that they would survive the re-entry process after having made it so far in such impossible conditions. 

[00:18:27] As with all re-entry procedures, contact was lost with the crew as they began their descent. 

[00:18:34] Unknown to the crew, Apollo 13’s trajectory, its direction, had been slightly adjusted by the Lunar Module’s cooling system on the way back from the Moon. 

[00:18:46] This meant that when Apollo 13 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, its angle of descent caused it to spend more time than expected at higher atmospheric levels where slowing down takes longer. 

[00:19:00] Instead of the usual four minutes of radio blackout, there was no contact with the crew for six whole minutes. This was an extremely tense moment on the ground - some people even thought that the Command Module's heat shield had failed. 

[00:19:19] The crew eventually splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, near American Samoa, where they were recovered by American military ships. All three crew members were alive and well, although Haise was suffering from a urinary tract infection, probably due to the lack of water.

[00:19:38] After a night on the recovery ship, they then flew to Hawaii where they were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour, by President Richard Nixon. 

[00:19:50] Little known to the Apollo 13 crew, the entire country, and really much of the world, had been following their progress and praying for their safe return. In America alone, over 40 million people watched the Apollo 13 splashdown on TV.

[00:20:08] The crew and their perilous journey made headlines around the world.

[00:20:12] Lovell went on to call the Apollo 13 mission a “successful failure”. While there were evident failures, the crew were saved by the unprecedented cooperation between the ground team and the astronauts

[00:20:26] Not to mention the crew’s nerves of steel and professional training that allowed them to continuously focus and work even under the extreme pressure of being in a protracted, an extended, life-or-death situation.

[00:20:42] The Apollo 13 rescue mission highlighted the risks of manned space travel and combined with decreasing public interest in the space programme and huge budget cuts, the Apollo Program was cut short, ending with Apollo 17 in December 1972, when Eugene Cernan became the last human to walk on the Moon. 

[00:21:05] The story of Apollo 13 might be a lesson to us all about the dangers of putting humans in space, but it is also one of hope and inspiration, of perseverance, of resourcefulness, of teamwork, of the importance of staying calm under pressure, and it’s no surprise that it is often referred to as NASA’s “finest hour”. 

[00:21:31] OK then, that is it for today's episode on Apollo 13.

[00:21:36] I hope it’s been an interesting one, and you’ve learned a bit about what actually happened during the ill-fated space flight and the story behind the crew’s miraculous survival. 

[00:21:46] As always, I would love to know what you thought about this episode.

[00:21:50] Do you think we will see humans on the Moon again in your lifetime?

[00:21:54] What about colonising Mars, is this just a dream, or will you live to see humans on Mars?

[00:22:00] And if you could take a trip to space, if money was no object, would you do it?

[00:22:06] I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started. 

[00:22:10] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:22:18] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:22:23] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]