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The Kid Should See This

What did Apollo 13 astronauts see on the far side of the moon?

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Imagine orbiting around the far side of the moon, a side that humans don’t see, out of visual and radio contact with Earth. This was the harrowing experience of Apollo 13 astronauts Fred Haise, Jim Lovell, and Jack Swigert. They traveled 400,171 kilometers (248,655 miles) away from our planet to swing around the moon and return home, an emergency plan set in motion after the spacecraft suffered an explosion.

That distance is farther than any crewed mission—any human in the history of our species–has gone before or since.

Using data gathered from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), this 4K NASA Goddard recreation depicts what the Apollo 13 astronauts saw on that intense journey in 1970.

The full screen-worthy video lasts 2m25s, a sped-up visualization of the astronauts’ experience: Eight minutes in complete darkness and out of radio contact for around 25 minutes.

earth from the moon
Read more about Apollo 13 at NASA.gov. Plus, listen to this wonderful summary report from NPR: Remembering Apollo 13, NASA’s Most Famous ‘Successful Failure.’

Follow this with videos about the Overview Effect, the reverent realization that our species—”everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was“—and the ecosystems that provide life as we know it all exist on a small blue planet surrounded by immeasurable darkness.

Plus, watch some of our favorite videos about the moon:
• A 4K LRO moon visualization set to Clair de Lune
• Tour of the moon in 4K
• Earthrise from the moon, captured by JAXA Kaguya Spacecraft
• Phases of the moon, animated with Virtual Moon Atlas

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