Apollo 13: Enhanced Photos Show Unhappy Lunar Mission With Unprecedented Details


Life aboard NASA’s ill-fated Apollo 13 mission has been revealed in unprecedented detail thanks to a series of improved images originally taken 50 years ago.

The spacecraft was supposed to become the third of NASA to land on the moon in 1970 before an explosion endangered the lives of the three astronauts on board and forced them to make a dramatic trip home.

Fifty years after the mission, imaging specialist Andy Saunders managed to produce the sharpest images to date from the craft, using poor-quality 16mm film shot by the crew.

Saunders used a technique called “stacking” to bring multiple images together to improve the detail of the images.

In one image, Commander Jim Lovell can be seen selecting music from a tape player as the crew prepare for their return to Earth.

Saunders said he was striking in the pictures how calm the crew was, even though they were facing an extremely difficult return trip.

“Maybe that belies their true feelings, because we know that in reality the crew doubted they could go home alive,” he told the BBC.

The improved images were released when two of the astronauts involved in the near-disastrous mission said they still considered the aborted trip a success.

Lovell described the return of Apollo 13 to Earth as “a miraculous recovery”, while Fred Haise said it was a “great mission” despite its difficulties.

Haise said the trip showed “what can be done if people use their minds and a little ingenuity.”

The astronauts also stressed that they were not superstitious about the trip and said that they both used the number 13 in their email addresses.

Jack Swigert, the third crew member, died in 1982 after being diagnosed with cancer.

More images of NASA missions can be found on Andy Saunders Twitter page.

Additional reports by PA


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