An oxygen tank ruptured aboard the Service Module of the Apollo 13 spacecraft, the third mission intended to land on the moon.
The accident occurred almost exactly 200,000 miles from the earth, and resulted in an almost complete loss of electrical power.
This event produced one of the most misquoted lines of all time, what Jack Swigart actually said in reporting the event was “Houston we’ve had a problem”.
During the next four days the only objective of the mission was “get home safe” and became an exercise in creative use of a very limited set of resources. Just about everything possible was used in some way to ensure the survival of the three crew members.
A recent interview with Jim Lovell the mission commander (now 82 years old) revealed a man as calm and laconic as he was in 1970 when faced with what appeared to be an unpleasant lingering death. Asked if he ever thought they would not make it safely back to earth he replied “No, but we were not waiting around for a miracle to occur, if we had been, we would still be up there”