Lower the lights, whack the volume all the way up to 11 and hit play to enjoy the latest video from NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio.
The beautiful two-and-a-half-minute 4K presentation (below), released just ahead of the 50th anniversary of the challenging Apollo 13 mission, offers an incredible render of some of the amazing scenery viewed by the three-man crew on their trip around the moon.
“This video uses data gathered from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft to recreate some of the stunning views of the moon that the Apollo 13 astronauts saw on their perilous journey around the far side in 1970,” NASA explained in notes accompanying the video.
The visualizations show various views of the lunar surface, starting with Earthset (the apparent setting of Earth below the lunar horizon, as seen from a spacecraft, or satellite, emerging from the far side of the moon) and sunrise, and finishing off at the time Apollo 13 was able to re-establish radio contact with Mission Control.
“Also depicted is the path of the free return trajectory around the moon, and a continuous view of the moon throughout that path,” NASA said, adding that the views have been sped up for timing purposes, so they’re not shown in real time.
The precarious Apollo 13 mission was depicted in the 1995 Tom Hanks movie of the same name. Crewed by Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise, it was lined up to be the third NASA mission to put astronauts on the moon, nine months after the first-ever crewed lunar landing. But a major and unexpected incident during the trip scuppered the plan.
Fifty-six hours into the mission, one of the spacecraft’s oxygen tanks blew up, causing a second one to leak its supply. The explosion also resulted in the loss of the command module’s normal supply of electricity, light, and water — 200,000 miles from Earth. Incredible work by the crew and Mission Control ensured that the three astronauts could make it safely back home, but they had to overcome some serious challenges to make it happen.
NASA is currently prepping America’s first crewed moon landing since 1972 as part of its Artemis space program.