Apollo 13

Alan Binder

Director, Lunar Research Institute in Tucson, AZ

Apollo 13— Space flight: It isn't all fun and games

How was space craft travel perceived? And just how precarious is it?

Willcox Theater and Arts Willcox, AZ

Film Synopsis

NASA must devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy.

"Houston, we have a problem." 

Astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) leads command module pilot Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) and lunar module driver Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) on what is slated as NASA's third lunar landing mission. All goes smoothly until the craft is halfway through its mission, when an exploding oxygen tank threatens the crew's oxygen and power supplies. As the courageous astronauts face the dilemma of either suffocating or freezing to death, Mattingly and Mission Control leader Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) struggle to find a way to bring the crew back home, all the while knowing that the spacemen face probable death once the battered ship reenters the Earth's atmosphere. Directed by Ron Howard, Apollo 13 was nominated for nine Academy Awards.

About the Speaker

Dr. Alan Binder is Director of the Lunar Research Institute in Tucson, AZ. He was Principal Investigator for the Lunar Prospector mission and was responsible for the Alpha Particle Spectrometer instrument on board the spacecraft. Dr. Binder’s main research interests center around the origin, petrological and structural evolution of the Moon, as well as its possible economic utilization. Dr. Binder has 35 years of experience in the fields of planetary astronomy and planetary geosciences. He was a Principal Investigator on the 1976 Viking Mars Lander Camera Team.