Skip to Main Content Griffith Observatory Home
Menu bar print

One Small Step: Apollo 13

Footprint on the Moon logoGriffith Observatory Continues it’s Celebration of NASA’s Apollo Missions to the Moon with Events Marking the
40th Anniversary of the Flight of Apollo 13

Sunday, April 11, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010

  • Hear tales of the history of lunar exploration from Observatory staff.

  • See a real rock brought back from the Moon.

  • Discover how Apollo astronauts trained under the stars in Griffith Observatory's planetarium.

  • Share your memories with friends and family.

When it launched from the Cape on April 11, 1970, the three astronauts aboard Apollo 13 thought they would be the third crew to successfully land on the Moon. In the early morning of April 14, 1970, as the spacecraft appraoched the Moon, a fault in the electrical system of one of Apollo 13's service module's oxygen tanks ruptured, causing a loss of electrical power and failure of both oxygen tanks. The command module remained functional on its own batteries and oxygen tank, which were only designed to support the crew during the last hours of the mission. The crew shut down the command module and used the intended lunar lander module as a "lifeboat" during the nearly four days of the return trip. Despite great hardship caused by the limited power and oxygen, loss of cabin heat, and a shortage of potable water, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17, 1970, and the mission was termed "a successful failure."

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of this dramatic mission, Griffith Observatory is offering special lectures on the 40th anniversary of each of the three key days of the mission: launch, accident, and return. Lectures will be presented by the Observatory staff in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon theater. All lectures are free and open to the public up to the capacity of the theater.

Lecture Schedule for Sunday, April 11, 2010:
1:00 p.m. Let's Make a Comet demonstration
2:00 p.m. The Moon Landings: Hoax or No Hoax
3:00 p.m.

Let's Make a Comet demonstration

4:00 p.m. Remembering Apollo 13: 40 Years Since Launch

Lecture Schedule for Wednesday, April 14, 2010:
7:30 p.m. Houston, We Have a Problem

Lecture Schedule for Saturday, April 17, 2010:
12:00 p.m. The Moon Landings: Hoax or No Hoax
  2:00 p.m. Remembering Apollo 13: A Safe Return to Earth
  4:00 p.m. The Moon Landings: Hoax or No Hoax
  6:00 p.m. Remembering Apollo 13: A Safe Return to Earth