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Blue Dot 177: The Epic Story Of Apollo 13 Pt. 2


In the conclusion of our look back at the Apollo 13 mission 50 years ago, Dave is joined by Barbara Lovell Harrison, John Aaron, and Andrew Chaikin. Barbara Lovell was 16-years old when her father's lunar mission, which was supposed to be the third Moon landing, was abruptly aborted by an oxygen tank explosion that crippled the spacecraft Odyssey and led to a life and death race against dwindling power.

Barbara shares what it was like to live through the experience through the eyes of a teenage daughter whose family was suddenly thrust into a story that gripped the entire world for a week. And she shares what it was like to see a version of herself and family onscreen in the 1995 Ron Howard film Apollo 13.



Credit Barbara Lovell
Commander Jim Lovell and daughter Barbara Lovell Harrison in a more fun raft in the North Atlantic. "Dad is still an explorer."

In the second segment, we hear from Flight Controller, EECOM John Aaron. It was Aaron, 28 at the time of the flight, who had to convince mission managers to immediately power down the crippled spacecraft to preserve its precious batteries.

Figuring out a way to power the Odyssey back up again is one of the greatest stories of problem-solving in the history of the space program.


Finally, historian and author (A Man on The Moon) Andrew Chaikin puts the mission in historical perspective and describes how the legacy of Apollo 13 can and is used as a lesson from the past for the current crop of mission controllers that hope to return the US to the Moon by 2024.

Dave Schlom is the longtime host and creator of Blue Dot. From surfing to Voyager in interstellar space, rock guitar to orcas in our imperiled oceans, the topics on Blue Dot are as varied as the host’s interests and connections -- which are pretty limitless! An internationally respected space history journalist, Dave is also deeply fascinated by all aspects of the grand workings of nature’s awesome machinery on scales ranging from galactic to subatomic. And topics take in all aspects of the arts and sciences.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.