Arbitary Obsessionist's Blog : Ambition is redundant. In life, mission is everything.

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Successful Failure!!

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Today I was watching this show titled “M3-Man, Moment & Machine” on The History Channel. It was about the Apollo 13 Lunar Mission, which met with an accident in 1970 just days after it was launched.

Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970 at 13:13 CST (You can see the number of unlucky 13s… 😉 ).

Apollo 13 Insignia It was shown, that just about 2 days after the launch, the entire mothership was rendered useless (almost) by an explosion in an oxygen tank. The explosion resulted in a loss of oxygen and electrical power that was so important for the crew. But the crew, very bravely fought back with the circumstances and used the Lunar Module (to be used to land and get back from moon only) as a “lifeboat” in space. The Command Module remained fully functional on its internal batteries, but they were needed for re-entry and landing so it was shut down shortly after the accident. Despite great hardships caused by severe shortage of power, cabin heat (it had become ice cold inside the module), and water (for drinking & as a coolant for various devices), the crew successfully returned to Earth. The mission was thus called a “Successful Failure”.

For a detailed account of the entire Apollo 13 story, Click here

It was really awesome to see a happy end to such a human endeavor. What I really liked about the show was that it brilliantly portrayed the difficulties these guys had to face in space which could have easily led to their end, and the way they kept on trying, along with those NASA scientists on the ground, to save their own lives. It was also shown that one of the crew members had to learn how to operate an instrument that was not to be used normally. It was said that, in normal routine procedure, this instrument took months to master. But here, he had to do it in the first time. Really, we learn faster when in trouble.

It is said that out of desperation, courage is born. Seems really right here. They were really desperate to save their lives. But then, who isn’t?

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