Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2001 May 19
Explanation: In April of 1970, after an oxygen tank exploded and crippled their service module, the Apollo 13 astronauts were forced to abandon plans to make the third human lunar landing. The extent of the damage is revealed in this grainy, grim photo, taken as the service module was drifting away -- jettisoned only hours prior to the command module's reentry and eventual safe splashdown. An entire panel on the side of the service module has been blown away and extensive internal damage is apparent. Visible below the gutted compartment is a radio antenna and the large, bell-shaped nozzle of the service module's rocket engine.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.