The 50th Anniversary of Apollo 13

This Saturday will mark a half century since the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission to the moon launched from the Florida coast on April 11, 1970. Apollo 13 was planned to be NASA’s third manned mission to land on the lunar surface, and, despite a few minor issues, went according to plan—until disaster struck about 56 hours into the journey. As the crew were approaching the moon, an explosion took place on the service module, blasting open a panel, damaging equipment, and venting oxygen into space. Rapid calculations and actions by the astronauts and Mission Control in Houston were able to salvage life-support systems, alter course to return to Earth (skipping the lunar landing), and get the crew safely home. Events that could have resulted in tragedy became stories of ingenuity, perseverance, and survival. Below, a few images from those eventful days 50 years ago.

An earlier version of this photo essay inadvertently included a photo from a previous Apollo mission. The photo has been removed.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Veronica Cardenas / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Firefighting Goats, Lake Chair, Saint Javelin

    A fancy-dress evening in Versailles, a destroyed industrial area in Ukraine, a mass wedding on the Uyuni Salt Flat, mourning families in Texas, Fleet Week in New York City, and much more

  • Qassem Al-Kaabi / AFP / Getty

    Photos: Sandstorms Sweep Across Parts of the Middle East

    A series of sandstorms has sent thousands to hospitals with breathing problems, and caused the closure of airports, schools, and government offices.

  • Sergione Infuso / Corbis via Getty

    Photos of the Week: Garbage Suit, Mesquite Heat, Bog Commander

    A fashion show in Burkina Faso, images from battlefields in Ukraine, the Witches and Wizards Convention in Brazil, a sandstorm in Iraq, electric-scooter racing in England, and much more

  • Caitlin Ochs / Reuters

    Water Levels in Lake Mead Reach Record Lows

    Images of Lake Mead, which has reached its lowest water levels since the 1930s