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35th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Splashdown

timothy posted about 9 years ago | from the that's-the-mangled-tin-anniversary dept.

Space 197

orac2 writes "35 years ago today, the crew of the Apollo 13 mission splashed down in the Pacific, after a harrowing four days following an oxygen tank explosion aboard their spacecraft. If you've only seen the Ron Howard movie, IEEE Spectrum has an article about what really went on in mission control to save the crew, with interviews with Gene Kranz, etc,and including a previously unreported hack the lunar module controllers had to come up with in real-time just to turn on the LM."

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197 comments

Are you saying Tom Hanks lied to me? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263518)

There's no lieing in movies!

Re:Are you saying Tom Hanks lied to me? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263534)

Maybe some books would do you well... it's "lying."

Re:Are you saying Tom Hanks lied to me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263559)

What's it like being perfect? Enquiring minds want to know.

Re:Are you saying Tom Hanks lied to me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263588)

If you are going to criticize people's spelling, at least fix your own grammar, dipshit.

My favorite scene (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | about 9 years ago | (#12263570)

"There's no lieing in movies!"

My favorite scene is when Tom Hanks says to the President over the radio to Houston: "I gotta pee", at which point his 55 IQ-lets him open the airlock to step outside. He had that horrid urine problem at least until John Coffee cured it.

Ask Slashdot: should I watch this video? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263706)

I just used eMule to download gayporn: "Electro Stimulation Gay Balls and Cock Torture.mpg".

Do I dare to watch it or should I just delete it?

Re:Ask Slashdot: should I watch this video? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263768)

202.64.85.73? Is that you?

404 Page (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263523)

Slashdot, we have a problem.

Re:404 Page (4, Funny)

nmb3000 (741169) | about 9 years ago | (#12264513)

404? No...

What we really should do is add onto the existing codes and take the unused 600 section of HTTP codes [suburbancomputer.com] for Slashdot use.

A few that come to mind:

HTTP 600: Nothing For You To See Here
HTTP 601: Dupe
HTTP 602: Is Having Uncompehensibal Splelling Nad Gramer
HTTP 603: Moderator Points Denied
HTTP 604: Profit Not Found

Any others?

True geeks (-1, Troll)

bonch (38532) | about 9 years ago | (#12263563)

The old NASA geeks were true geeks. They had to solve incredible problems on the fly. For example, like in the film, where a roomful of geeks sit down at a table, a bunch of random stuff is dumped on a table, and they have to get a square peg into a round hole using nothing but what was there. Imagine having to debug a remote system failure that's floating in space, using nothing but radio communications and screw instrumentation data?

The movie is a dramatization as Ron Howard points out, but I saw an Apollo 13 documentary that played actual recordings from the transmissions, and the film used a lot of the dialogue word-for-word. "Let's not make things worse by guessing."

Re:True geeks (5, Insightful)

PriceIke (751512) | about 9 years ago | (#12263604)

What I loved about the movie "Apollo 13" was that it celebrated the true heroism exhibited by the "geeks" at NASA. I remember reading editorials from feminist man-haters whining about how all the men in the movie were, well, men, and white men, which is somehow worse. That kind of criticism really made me ill. I felt really sorry for the kind of person who would attack a movie for being sexist or even cheuvanist simply because it shows a group of white men being heroes, even if it is historically accurate.

It's not often you see a group of actual, Coke-bottle-glasses, pocket-protector, polyester-pants GEEKS acting in concert to save lives presented in movies these days. (Usually they are sexed-up CSI-types. Yeah, sure.) But damnit, those boys (and girls) at NASA really do have people's lives in their hands, and each and every successful, boring old manned mission is a tremendous risk and a testament to the genius and sheer balls of the American Nerd.

Re:True geeks (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263648)

Clearly they should've made Richard Nixon a black woman in a wheelchair named Regina Nixon and had her wheel down to NASA, build a rescue ship, fly into space and save them. Also, this would allow for the pivotal scene where her paralysis can't stop her from spacewalking.

Re:True geeks (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263804)

Hey, I didn't know Roland Emmerich was posting on Slashdot! You've got another winner plot there!

Re:True geeks (3, Insightful)

SYFer (617415) | about 9 years ago | (#12264274)

Hear hear. Well said sir. I'm a pretty cold fish and have gotten teary eyes maybe a half dozen times in my adult life, but I was certainly teary when I saw the movie and the excellent documentary. As a glasses and polyester wearing (at least back in the day) nerd, the performance of the ground crew at NASA then (and in every mission, really) is the most inspiring thing thing I've seen in my life. To each their own, but for me, the space program, especially in the old days, is truly Heroic. It's the source of my patriotism. Truth be told, I'd probably give up everything I have for even an insignificant job at Johnson just so that, when I died, I could say I had given something to that magnificent organization. *sigh* Maybe next time around.

Re:True geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264356)

They do need people to mop the floors and clean the toilets.

Re:True geeks (2)

SYFer (617415) | about 9 years ago | (#12264425)

Like I didn't see that coming? Yeah. I'd consider it. I was on a business trip once in Orlando and drove over to the "space coast" alone just to see it. As I drove by a major installation (can't remember which), I saw some service vehicle entering through the gates and had the sharp realization that I'd rather be in that service vehicle because they we a part of it all and I was not. If I was on the janitorial crew, I'd be "in" and from there, I'd focus on my next objective. Maybe I'd work my way up to the gift shop some day! There's no other organization that I feel that way about so no night-shift toilet-cleaning offers from Microsoft, please.

Re:True geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264562)

This is the interenet. Please do not use the words "magnificent" and "Johnson" in the same sentence unless you are a spammer. Thank you for your cooperation.

Re:True geeks (5, Interesting)

orac2 (88688) | about 9 years ago | (#12263685)

As the article points outs, the controllers agree that Howard's movie points out the sense of what went on, even if they also all agree it fictionalized a fair amount of what happened: for example it was John Aaron, not Ken Mattingly, who did the heavy lifting on the CSM power up sequence, and the idea of getting power from the LM to support the CSM, by running power backward through the umblicals, was developed months beforehand by Bob Legler.

Re:True geeks (1)

k512-arch (796444) | about 9 years ago | (#12264366)

Wasn't that scene fake? I think the article says it was really a single person that worked on the problem for days, when he found out about the oxygen tank problem?

Re:True geeks (3, Insightful)

orac2 (88688) | about 9 years ago | (#12264489)

The article says it was Ed Smylie plus his team, but they'd begun working on it themselves almost immediately after they heard the crew were in the LM. It wasn't an issue of mission control giving them the job after they noticed the CO2 going up, as the movie shows, but mission control finding that, when they needed help, someone had already been working on the problem for hours, saving a lot of time. It's that kind of proactive culture that really made the difference, just as with the the LM lifeboat procedures.

Anniversaries... (5, Funny)

stalefries (860068) | about 9 years ago | (#12263568)

So, will we have to see this article every 5 years now?

Re:Anniversaries... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263593)

So, will we have to see this article every 5 years now?

Duplicate articles only "every 5 years" would be a great improvement.

Re:Anniversaries... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263594)

Not if we can slashdot it into oblivion.

Re:Anniversaries... (5, Informative)

orac2 (88688) | about 9 years ago | (#12263617)

will we have to see this article every 5 years

Perhaps, but sadly unlikely because the Apollo mission controllers are beginning to pass away at an increasing rate. At lot of them are still in good health, but Sy Liebergot has a list of deceased controllers in his 2003 autobiography, Apollo EECOM [apolloeecom.com] that's a page long, and he's said recently that if he released a second edition he'd have to add another bunch of names already: for example, Don Puddy, who played a key role in the post Apollo-10 sim lifeboat procedures team, passed away last November.

Re:Anniversaries... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263729)

After the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th and 30th aniversaries, the article about the 35th must be PRETTY DAMN COMPLETE. Why couldn't they just reuse the exact same article in 5 years? Are there some *important* facts that some Apollo mission controller kept for himself for 35 years and would start to talk about it just now, for the 40th aniversary? Color me skeptical.

Re:Anniversaries... (0)

orac2 (88688) | about 9 years ago | (#12263826)

Well, yes, of course, you could reprint the story, but the point is that this is a new story with fresh details, in particular with regard to the work done by the lunar module controller, thanks to interviews with the controllers themselves, who are aging, so it's unlikely you're going to be seeing new stories with new details for all that many more 5 year anniversaries. On the other hand, had we applied your logic at the 30th anniversary, noone would have bothered to ferret out this anniversary's new stuff.

Questioning the validity of the "new stuff" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264056)

If I were a mission controller and asked about this stuff, it would probably go like this:

asked within 5 years: good informative details
asked after 5-10 years: less details: you'd have more if you asked earlier
asked after 10-15 years: way less details: you'd have much more if you asked earlier
asked after 15-20 years: refuses to answer: this is pointless, you should have asked me when it was fresh in my mind
asked after 20-25 years: refuses to answer
asked after 25-30 years: refuses to answer
asked after 30-35 years: I don't remember anything significant, but let's talk about it, old people like to talk!!

Re:Anniversaries... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263697)

Do you have any sort of idea just how amazing of a technological feat the apollo missions were?

Buckminster Fuller commented that we made the same progress in about 20 years technologically that we did in the 2,000 years prior to the mission.

Re:Anniversaries... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263782)

Which only goes to show that people the previous 2000 years were slackers.

Re:Anniversaries... (5, Funny)

Husgaard (858362) | about 9 years ago | (#12263978)

I doubt that we will see another "35th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Splashdown" article in five years.

But this is Slashdot, and nothing seems to be impossible here ;-)

35th Anniversaries... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264373)

Are for sucks. Nobody gives a damn until 50 anyways.

Now *that*s a cool hack! (5, Insightful)

FlyByPC (841016) | about 9 years ago | (#12263577)

Convert a LEM into a lifeboat, work out the proper equipment sequence to keep the power drain down to a minimum level, determine the correct trajectory with a "computer" roughly as powerful as a modern wristwatch, cobble together some CO2 scrubbers to fit where they weren't supposed to, and save three lives in the process. Tops pretty much anything else I've seen.

Re:Now *that*s a cool hack! (1)

netcrusher88 (743318) | about 9 years ago | (#12263626)

Indeed. That's like working the math for Doom using an abacus and d20s. Well, close. The Apollo thing is more impressive.

Re:Now *that*s a cool hack! (4, Interesting)

orac2 (88688) | about 9 years ago | (#12263642)

To be strictly accurate, the heavy lifting on the trajectory side was done by a bunch of mainframes on the ground, in Houston's Real Time Computer Complex. But as the article says, they didn't have the software to compute how the trajectory of thecojoined CSM and LM would behave using the LM descent engine, so they had to call in a bunch of people to write new software! Then the burn parameters were passed up to be entered into the computer.

Re:Now *that*s a cool hack! (2, Insightful)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | about 9 years ago | (#12264419)

Presumably they had to change about two lines in the program; where it had the mass of the vehicle and the thrust of the lunar lander engine, and recompile/reassemble. Then they ran the program. Can't have been much more to it than that, if they got the answer in 2-3 hours...

Re:Now *that*s a cool hack! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264465)

I don't know the details but I'd hazard it's little more complex than that: for example determining the center of mass and the turning moment about that center. I doubt it was as simple as "substitute the descent engine for the CSM main engine and change the signs"...

Why do people still deny the moon landing? (4, Insightful)

Future Man 3000 (706329) | about 9 years ago | (#12263592)

If you look at all the stuff we were doing in space, including the heroics that successfully brought the Apollo 13 home, isn't it self-evident that was absolutely within our ability to land on the moon forty years ago?

Now we're looking at Mars, but there's only so much duct tape we can wrap around these shuttles. I wish some of the enthusiasm and can-do attitude towards space that we had in the early days would return so that this next trek could be adequately funded and researched.

Re:Why do people still deny the moon landing? (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | about 9 years ago | (#12263631)

I wish some of the enthusiasm and can-do attitude towards space that we had in the early days would return so that this next trek could be adequately funded and researched.

Instead we had Dan Goldin, whose main concern was writing fancy speeches and making sure employees used the correct NASA letterhead on memos.

Re:Why do people still deny the moon landing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263668)

The year 2001 called, they want their administrator back.

Re:Why do people still deny the moon landing? (1)

F13 (9091) | about 9 years ago | (#12263660)

Because they can make a lot of money out of it.

Conspiracy sells especially to lameOs.

Because we didn't! (5, Funny)

Professor S. Brown (780963) | about 9 years ago | (#12263713)

We didn't go to the moon! The shadows aren't parallel! The Van-Allen belt would have fried them all instantly! Why is there no huge flame coming out of the bottom of the lander? Last time I set fire to some petrol it burnt with a fire, what, is the petrol they used not flammable or something? Why no photographs of the stars? Why not point a telescope at the moon and look at the flag? We can see stars literally hundreds of miles away, why not a flag on the moon?

Re:Because we didn't! (1)

yo_tuco (795102) | about 9 years ago | (#12264177)

"...We can see stars literally hundreds of miles away...

Hundreds of miles away, professor? You do the math!

Re:Because we didn't! (2, Funny)

nmb3000 (741169) | about 9 years ago | (#12264588)

We can see stars literally hundreds of miles away...
--
Shitram Brown, PhD
Professor of Mathematics


All I can say is it's a good thing you went for math and not astronomy.

why not a flag on the moon?

Gooooooooooooooooooooooogle [google.com]

Re:Because we didn't! (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | about 9 years ago | (#12264659)

I fully suspect the parent post was sarcastic... but I hope the name is a joke. Man, if that is really your name CHANGE IT NOW!

(I have seen worse real names, though... like Dick Sux and Cox Cable)

-WS

Re:Why do people still deny the moon landing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263731)

I believe Apollo 13 story was also a hoax - just like moon landing.
Too many superstitions in the story (Number 13 appears too many times). A perfect Sci-Fi movie story, but in reality, definitely a hoax.

I like the movie though.

Re:Why do people still deny the moon landing? (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 9 years ago | (#12263773)

Too many superstitions in the story (Number 13 appears too many times).
Carnival Cruise Lines must be the only cruse line to skip from deck 12 to 14 then on their Conquest series ships? What about hotels too, they are superstitious as well.

Re:Why do people still deny the moon landing? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263841)

well obviously ships and hotels are hoaxes

Since I'm too young... (5, Insightful)

tquinlan (868483) | about 9 years ago | (#12263601)

...and was born after the actual mission, that movie is "what I remember" about the Apollo 13 mission. Thankfully, it was well done, and reasonably accurate. It's good to see that we've got further background thanks to the Slashdot story.

Re:Since I'm too young... (1)

antdude (79039) | about 9 years ago | (#12263726)

Same here. I wonder if there were any major inaccuraries in this movie.

Re:Since I'm too young... (5, Informative)

orac2 (88688) | about 9 years ago | (#12263762)

Quite a few: I'm not dissing Howard's movie: you can't tell a four day (actually, eight year) story in two hours without taking some dramatic license. Hence the article.

It's important to realize how much what-if planning work was done up front, before Apollo 13, so that during the accident, the controllers weren't just making it all up as they went along. In particular, the efforts of the lunar module controllers in this regard are absent from the movie, as are a lot of other key contributions.

Other issues: the CSM power-up sequence was not devised primarily under astronaut Ken Mattingly's auspices, but under EECOM John Aaron. Nor did Mattingly come up with the idea of running power back into the CSM from the LM: Bob Legler, a LM controller, came up with that idea months previously. In the movie, the crew were thrown around by the oxygen tank explosion: in fact it took a few minutes for everyone to realise something very serious had happened. And Kranz never said "Failure is not an option!"

Re:Since I'm too young... (2, Informative)

October_30th (531777) | about 9 years ago | (#12263844)

On the DVD there's a nice commentary track by Jim Lovell and his wife and he points out some of the inaccuracies.

Re:Since I'm too young... (1, Troll)

skyman8081 (681052) | about 9 years ago | (#12263875)

ummmm.......

The Contrail?

In actuality:

  • the arms on the launch gantry swing away simultaneously, not one at a time, as depicted.
  • The engine 5 failure indicator, the indicator lamp simply shut off, not flashing and buzzing as depicted.
  • The course-correction burn was 18 seconds, not 39.
  • The second and third stages of the Satun V burned an invisible flame, only the first stage had an orange flame as shown in the movie.
  • Every list needs five items

You sick capitalists and your NASA idolatry (5, Funny)

DmitryProletariat (876610) | about 9 years ago | (#12263620)

You think just because you landed a few capitalist pig astronauts on the moon you're so high faluten and mighty! We Soviets kept men in space for 439 days! We had the first woman in space! We had the first childrens space morning cereal! You bourgeois Amerikan NASA idolists live in delusion over your puny accomplishments. So you Saaaaaved the crew of Apollo 13. Ohhhhhh! I'm SOOOOOOO impressed! You capitalist pigs only exploited this tragedy by turning it into a profit driven Hollysick movie! So that is what you think of your great fearless icons! Fit only for money making propaganda!

You bourgeois capitalist Amerikan's make me sick; stealing surpluss labor from the masses for your precious French perfume. BAH! Against the brick wall for you!

*bang!*

Re:You sick capitalists and your NASA idolatry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263718)

"Fetchez la vache!" "Huh?" "Fetchez la vache, la vache!"... "MooooOOOOOO!"

Château, nous avons un problème.

Re:You sick capitalists and your NASA idolatry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263720)

Mod up! +5, Insightful

Re:You sick capitalists and your NASA idolatry (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264016)

Howard Dean, is that you?

Re:You sick capitalists and your NASA idolatry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264345)

Worst use of Funny mode I've seen, take it back to Fark

Glad to see: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264404)

Satire is alive and kicking here on /. So funny it it made me tear up. Me want OOG_THE_CAVEMAN return!!!

So much more interesting than the Hollywood drivel (4, Interesting)

ExtraT (704420) | about 9 years ago | (#12263662)

It always amazes me how much more interesting and captivating a truthful and detailed account is, than any kind of "sexed up" hollywwod adaptation of it!

It's all fiction anyways (-1, Troll)

John Seminal (698722) | about 9 years ago | (#12263674)

We have never left this planet. We have never been in space. All those shuttle launches just flew out of sight. It is all a hoax.

I have proof. In the 2002 playboy, NFL running back Marshall Faulk dispells all the myths about landing on the moon. We were in an arms race, and the US government turned to hollywood insiders to produce films that made it appear we were more advanced than the USSR, in a hopes the USSR economy would implode. Think about it, this is a football player poking holes in the NASA propoganda.

According to Faulk, there is no wind on the moon. But if you look at the picture of the two astronots with the flag, there is a breeze shown in the picture.

If you look at many of the pictures taken while on the moon, you will notice no stars. That is because all these pictures were taken indoors, in a studio in hollywood.

There is also a picture of a rock on the moon with the letter "C" on it. Obviously, every rock in the studio was lettered and was meticulously put in place.

Now the truth is, we are not alone in the universe. Aliens have visited earth, and we even have one of their spaceships. It is kept in Area 51, in the Nevada desert at a top secret Air Force base. How secret is it, not even you elected Senators can gain access. Before his death, US Senator Paul Simon asked for all information about area 51, his request was denied. He traveled to the gates of the compound with another senator, a US Army General, and 3 memebers of congress, and they were all turned away at gunpoint. Furthermore, the people who work there are not regular Air Force enlisted and officers. They all come from a seperate agency, on the public does not know about.

I'll leave one more bone to chew on. If NASA could make a space ship, fly it to the moon, develop suits for astronots to be protected from extremem heat and cold, along with radiation, how come the camera's they took with them are all so shitty? The video is horrible. It is like someone made it that way on purpose, like someone who counterfits money and then rubs dirt on it and tries to make it look used.

Re:It's all fiction anyways (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263714)

Cameras must be focused on what they are to capture, and particularly the blurring of the vastness of space overpowers the tiny points of light from stars in a monochrome camera. Of course in simulation computer addition of space to stage in films is simple and contains all details, but it is what is fake.

Re:It's all fiction anyways (2)

fishbowl (7759) | about 9 years ago | (#12263740)

> how come the camera's they took with them are all
> so shitty?

A Nikon F wasn't shitty then, and it's not at all bad today.

Since everybody is scrambling for digital cameras and nobody cares about film anymore, you can get great cameras and lenses for cheap now.

Re:It's all fiction anyways (0, Offtopic)

John Seminal (698722) | about 9 years ago | (#12263752)

Who marked the parent as Troll. It is TRUE!

There is a reason why chemistry and physics professors weed out 70% of their students in first year classes. They want parrots, people who don't think. They want the ones who can memorize, and the science program sucks up their 20's.

Science professors don't want the guy with the used copy of Jack Kerouac "On The Road" showing up in their classes, asking questions like "explain to me again how you know there is a nuon and gluon in there?". I was in physics 100 and asked the professor the most simple question when we were talking about classical mechanics versus modern ideas. I asked "What is gravity, what is pulling me down". The teacher, who was a gifted artist, drew a picture on the blackboard of Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff and said "he never should have chased road runner.

Look people, for the HISTORY of mankind, those in power lied to everyone else. Gallileo was put in jail because of what he knew. Countless others were executed.

Today the system is different. Only the "right" kind of people are allowed to study physics. Once they get their PhD, they are admitted to the club, told it was all bullshit, and given a stipend to keep quiet. That is the system!!

Re:It's all fiction anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263802)

The plain truth is that all those professors are ALIENS who are here to take over the world. In the first year classes, they attempt to take over everybody's minds. Those who become their slaves stay, the rest are discarded in the hopes that the lack of advanced education will keep them poor and starving.

The real system is that all the educated people, all the people with money and power are aliens!!

Re:It's all fiction anyways (1, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 9 years ago | (#12263852)

I did Science at GCSE level (UK highschool exams), and went on to do chemistry and physics at ALevel (2 year further education before University) and on the first day at Alevel standard, they told us 'forget everything youve learnt up until now, its all untrue, just a means of getting some basic science education'. And true to form, everything that we had learnt at GCSE wasnt any help at all at Alevel standard.

And Ive been told that if you went on to do degree level physics and chemistry, you are pretty much told exactly the same. Whats the point, why not just teach the real facts at all levels?!

Re:It's all fiction anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263918)

it's because they doubt the human ability to acquire knowledge; they assume everyone is a fucking retard

Obligatory quote (1)

nixman99 (518480) | about 9 years ago | (#12263946)

. . . for the HISTORY of mankind, those in power lied to everyone else. Gallileo was put in jail because of what he knew. Countless others were executed.

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. -- Voltaire

Re:It's all fiction anyways (2, Informative)

fishbowl (7759) | about 9 years ago | (#12263785)

"How secret is it, not even you elected Senators can gain access."

Civilians are normally denied access to secure military areas. I'm sure your Senator wouldn't be allowed to wander around the Pentagon either, but I can't regard this as evidence of a big secret conspiracy.

Excellent point!! (0)

John Seminal (698722) | about 9 years ago | (#12263853)

"How secret is it, not even you elected Senators can gain access."

Civilians are normally denied access to secure military areas. I'm sure your Senator wouldn't be allowed to wander around the Pentagon either, but I can't regard this as evidence of a big secret conspiracy.

God forbid if Senators knew the truth, if they could look around. What good is the Senators vote if they can't get access?

We have the new Patriot Act which gives the executive branch, the FBI and other agencies great new powers. They can listen in to any citizen, anywhere, without a warrent, for any reason. But our own Senators can't look around the Pentagon, they can't go to Area 51?

So, if YOU were ELECTED to the United States Senate, and were entrusted with the power of your office, to protect your constituents, and you requested to see Area 51 and were denied, you would be okay with that? Don't you have an ABSOLUTE right to know the truth, to see it with your own eyes? For god sake, you were ELECTED, and not some dopey office like mayor, but a person who can vote for war.

Then again, the whole Congress, both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate were lied to about Iraq, about wepons of mass destruction. Not one peep out of the senior membership. Obviously, they are under the control of someone, some agency. I wish I knew which agency, and how, but I am sure the truth is out there.

Re:Excellent point!! (1)

Mahou (873114) | about 9 years ago | (#12263881)

sigh, most military bases have their own rules, the land is government property and they can deny anyone they want. that's why military and their family have id's to get on base. elected officials are not military personnel. now something like groomlake that is a testing ground of advanced weapons should not be shown to anyone and everyone, especially not politicians since they are usually easily bribed

Re:Excellent point!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264018)

But of course those who deny or grant access do the right thing because... You will have to believe us on this one, we just know better than you...

Re:Excellent point!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264185)

yeh just like you know better on whom to deny or grant access to your house, or how immigration offices know better to whom to deny or grant citizenship

Re:It's all fiction anyways (1)

David Horn (772985) | about 9 years ago | (#12264395)

Does that mean the President isn't allowed to just stroll into Area 51 and take a look around?

Re:It's all fiction anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264420)

well he is the commander in chief so i guess he could pull rank on anyone telling him to gtfo

Re:It's all fiction anyways (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | about 9 years ago | (#12264634)

You've obviously never seen Stargate. Senators get to see cool shit all the time (and screw it up good too).

MBAs loved the movie (3, Interesting)

Bubblehead (35003) | about 9 years ago | (#12263701)

I was going to MIT in 1995 when the film was released. Everybody at the adjacent Sloan School of Management was talking about it and called it a perfect case study of great project management and team work. The article confirms that - great read.

NASA of Then v. NASA of Today (5, Interesting)

Space_Soldier (628825) | about 9 years ago | (#12263704)

I wish that NASA of today was as exciting and had the same respect as back then. The leadership did not say, "Sorry Apollo 13, you're dead, and we won't spend any resources in a futile attempt to save you." Two shuttle disasters later due to bureaucracy and they don't even have the balls to save Hubble let alone mount a human trip to Mars.

Re:NASA of Then v. NASA of Today (5, Interesting)

fishbowl (7759) | about 9 years ago | (#12263727)

" I wish that NASA of today was as exciting and had
the same respect as back then."

Those of us who were around back then remember it being no less controversial, with just as much skepticism, and the same low regard from the Republicans over a program that was pressed by Democrats.

The main mitigating factor was the idea that the space program would help stem the tide of Communism.

The space age had an enormous impact on popular culture, but the politics were pretty much the same.

For a great overview, see this book by Kranz (4, Informative)

EQ (28372) | about 9 years ago | (#12263769)

Failure is not an Option [google.com] By Gene Kranz -- the link goes to a google search for the book. (Choose your own bookseller - no amazon link whoring).

Gene Kranz (the guy with the serious crewcut) tells the whole story of how they got to the point to where the "geeks" could make a life and death difference in this situation, and then how they managed to pull it off. Its a great study of real engineering by real engineers under incredible time pressure, with the lives of people and the hopes of the nation in their hands.

Re:For a great overview, see this book by Kranz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12263851)

Kranz's book does have a few omissions though: for example the Apollo 10 sim isn't mentioned...

Re:For a great overview, see this book by Kranz (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 9 years ago | (#12264051)

Or how 'bout Apollo 13 [google.com] (formerly called Lost Moon, which is a much more interesting title) by Jim Lovell, who was the Apollo 13 commander. Different focus than Kranz's book (which I also recommend), on mostly the one flight rather than the whole space program. You get to see which parts of the movie are right (most of it), which parts of the movie actually happened but at a different time or only slightly different mannner (such as Lovell's "you know that trip to Acapulco we had planned" bit, which actually happened before Apollo 8, not 13), and which parts are mostly or all made up. You also get to find out stuff that was omitted from the move (the PC+2 burn... find out what that was).

Ahh, the good old days.... (4, Insightful)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 9 years ago | (#12263783)

...now all of our science is just to build better weapons systems. Sigh.

Re:Ahh, the good old days.... (2, Insightful)

Eminence (225397) | about 9 years ago | (#12264155)

...now all of our science is just to build better weapons systems.

You think it was all "peaceful scientific exploration"? Wanna see a list of weaponry that was developed in those days?

Re:Ahh, the good old days.... (1)

nickthisname (630860) | about 9 years ago | (#12264259)

How old were you then? I remember some pretty
damn big boom sticks, and predictions of them
getting bigger ... and badder. Guess what?
They all came true. Now guess why science and war are conjoined twins.

I worked for Grumman... (4, Interesting)

Banner (17158) | about 9 years ago | (#12263972)

In the late 80's (Flight Test Engineer). A lot of the guys who worked on the LEM and where there during the accident were still around. Some sat next to me. I got to hear some really great stories about what happened, and the things they had to do.

My favorite was that they (Grumman) got everyone who had anything to do with the program rounded up, put in a large room, and then they put an armed guard at the door. You could leave to go to the bathroom, that was it. They all stayed in there working on solutions and answering questions until Apollo landed, and apparently noone even complained.(Try that these days!)

Also it was a tradition at Grumman to point to the LEM and what it did, and how well it was made. It set a very high standard that we were all expected to live up to, and were often reminded of.

Wow, there are still people who actually believe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264163)

It amazes me that there are still people who are gullible enough to believe we actually went to the moon. Amazing!

Re:Wow, there are still people who actually believ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264273)

i cant believe people believe in cats, i mean kittens: yeh. but cats? how absolutely obsurd!

Sad... (4, Insightful)

Eminence (225397) | about 9 years ago | (#12264243)

All those Apollo anniversaries make me sad. 35 years is my whole life, I was born the same year Apollo 13 made its epic return to Earth. And what happened through my whole life with space exploration? Are we further than we were in 1970? All that's left from the grand dreams of the period are some old shuttles, that make news when they fly at all, a space station which we wouldn't be able to operate without Russian (paid) help and a huge, costly government agency that produces lots of nice animations, small droids and very, very little substance - and tons of SF movies. In our silver screen dreams we have already conquered whole galaxy, in reality we hardly moved.

I know it's a harsh judgment. But technologically speaking we could have been walking on Mars a decade ago, we could have been visiting Moon regularly, we could have been sending dozens of automated probes each year not just a few. Isn't that sad?

I think it is each time I have to ask myself: will I live long enough to see anything to even match, let alone outshine Apollo achievements?

So.. no one has ever caught.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264264)

.. the US government in a lie? Ever? If you have, then why would you believe the government when they told you we actually landed on the moon. I don't know about you, but if I catch someone in a lie, their credibility is ruined and I can never trust anything they say.

Oh, we went to the moon? Yeah, sure.. and I have some ocean-front property in Arizona I'd like to sell you.

What a perfect little world you must live in where you can pick and choose what is true and what is not.

Re:So.. no one has ever caught.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264313)

kill yourseeelllffff!!!!!!!

It confuses amps and watts. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264389)

> "Twelve amps is about as much power as a vacuum cleaner uses."

No, that's the amount of *current* a vacuum cleaner *might* use. It says nothing about its power at all.

I'm such a pedant.

You know what's sad: (0, Flamebait)

kyle90 (827345) | about 9 years ago | (#12264422)

How the story of Apollo 13 is a glowing testament to the bravery and persistence of the human spirit, but there always has to be the few people that come in and say "OMG we never landed on teh moon!" and ruin it for everyone else. It makes me sick that you would disrespect the people who were involved in the Apollo missions like that. What about the three astronauts who *died* in the fire on Apollo 1? You want to piss on their graves by saying that the moon landings never happened? I'm ashamed to be of the same species as you. Fucking bottom-feeders.

Stupid sayings at the Apollo 13 movie. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12264482)

1) I don't want to watch Apollo 13. I don't like Science Fiction movies.
2) Why don't they use the Space Shuttle to rescue the Apollo 13 crew?
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