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Monday, April 12, 2010

Research Reveals Apollo 13 Crew Would Have Burned Up In Earth's Atmosphere

dailymail - It has long been believed the crew of the near-doomed Apollo 13 mission would have frozen in the infinity of space had Nasa failed in its dramatic rescue to bring them back to Earth.

However new research has revealed the vessel would probably have burned in the planet's atmosphere, debunking the theories noted in the history books.

Scientists have always thought that the stricken capsule would have drifted on a never-ending journey billions of miles through space as a tomb, carrying the frozen bodies of the crew.

But computer simulations now show the spacecraft and its astronauts would have been pushed back to the Earth's atmosphere.

Andrew Chaikin, a space historian and author who worked on the investigation into the theory, told the Times: 'For so long it was assumed that Apollo 13 would be an everlasting monument to the space programme just circling forever in space.

'Now we know it would have been a very different story.'

Calculations by Philadelphia-based company Analytical Graphics Inc (AIG) started 10 years ago have now been published on a video to mark the 40th anniversary of the mission this weekend.

The research was also verified by using data provided by Apollo 13's flight controller Chuck Dietrich, who was based at Houston's mission control as Nasa launched an operation to get the stranded astronauts home.

Mr Chaikin, author of A Man On The Moon, added: 'He had all this stuff in his basement that he came up with, facts and figures of his analysis back then that supported the simulation.'

The famous Apollo 13 mission in 1970 would have been the third of Nasa's lunar landings, nine months after Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon.

However two days - and 200,000 miles - into the voyage an oxygen tank exploded, ripping a hole in the capsule's exterior, causing the astronauts to drift off course.

It took four days for Nasa to get the spacecraft back to Earth - with no cabin power, dwindling water supply and restricted oxygen - as part of a delicate operation.

The incredible real-life rescue was turned into a Hollywood film of the same name in 1995, starring Tom Hanks as Captain Jim Lovell.

Mr Lovell will return to Cape Canaveral in Florida today with fellow Apollo 13 crew member Fred Haise to mark the 40th anniversary of the mission.

Research Reveals Apollo 13 Crew Would Have Burned Up In Earth's Atmosphere

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