DR. SKY BLOG

Recalling the amazing Apollo 14 moon mission 51 years later

Feb 9, 2022, 2:00 PM
These three astronauts are the prime crew of the Apollo 14 lunar landing mission. They are Alan B. ...
These three astronauts are the prime crew of the Apollo 14 lunar landing mission. They are Alan B. Shepard Jr., center, commander; Stuart A. Roosa, left, command module pilot; and Edgar D. Mitchell, lunar module pilot. The Apollo 14 emblem is in the background. (NASA Photo, File)
(NASA Photo, File)

As we move into the second full week of February, a very special Apollo mission was conducting some very unique science on the surface of the moon!

Welcome to the Apollo 14 (AS-509) mission, 51 years later.

The crew of Alan Shepard, Dr. Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa made their way to the Fra Mauro highlands of the moon.

To me, this is one of the most amazing missions of the Apollo program, as this was the next mission to the moon after the near-total disaster in space with Apollo 13.

This time, the world was watching with great interest as many had felt that Apollo 13 would end the program.

Launching on Jan. 31, 1971, on the massive Saturn 5 rocket, the three astronauts were on the way to the moon.

Here is the way it looked on that day.

The crew of Apollo 14.

The Apollo 14 mission patch.

Over the past decade, I had the opportunity to meet and visit with Mitchell on his amazing Apollo 14 mission.

For a more detailed interview with Dr. Mitchell from my Dr. Sky Show, listen here.

The Apollo 14 mission was on the moon for a total of 33.5 hours while conducting two EVAs.

Apollo 14 helped to save the future of the program as it had the most accurate landing of all missions to the moon.

There were two issues which could have prevented them from actually getting into lunar orbit and then landing!

The first issue was the near-failure of the command module to dock with the lunar lander Antares in Earth orbit.

The second issue was a loose piece of solder coming from the abort switch on the lunar module control panel.

This was later fixed and the mission continued.

The landing area for Apollo 14 was located in the Fra Mauro region of the moon. Here is a detailed review of the landing area for the rest of the mission.

The last of the H missions to the moon called for a two-day stay on the lunar surface.

The next Apollo missions would add more equipment and the unique lunar rovers to Apollo 15, 16 and 17.

To learn more about this incredible Apollo 14 mission, which helped to save the Apollo program, visit this link.

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Podcasts are available here.

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Recalling the amazing Apollo 14 moon mission 51 years later