New simulation shows what would have happened if Apollo 13 failed to return home

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 13 moon mission, Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) and noted space author Andrew Chaikin teamed up to tell a part of the story that they unearthed and validated with the help of original mission personnel.

Most history books had long speculated that if the Apollo 13 crew had not been able to bring their stranded craft safely back home, they would have orbited Earth indefinitely. A new simulation predicts that the crew’s fate would have been far different.

According to the new calculations the spacecraft wouldn’t have missed earth by 40,000 miles, as previously thought, but would have come as close as 2500 miles sending it into a highly elliptical orbit. 5 weeks after the explosion, on May 20, 1970, Apollo 13 would have plunged back into Earth and burnt up in the atmosphere.

The animation is narrated by Chaikin, author of "A Man on the Moon."

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