What if Apollo had crashed on the Moon ?

For all of the celebrations surrounding the first manned lunar landing of Apollo 11 in 1969, what is forgotten today is just how close they and the other Apollo missions flew to the edge of disaster.

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Apollo 11 came within seconds of aborting the landing because they had over shot the landing area and were running low on fuel.
This was only one of several issues with the Apollo missions that arose that could have led to the loss of the mission and crew, though as it turned out only Apollo 13 came close to this happening. This excludes the Apollo 1 accident where the crew died because of a fire as they rehearsed a launch on January 27th, 1967.
Apollo 12 was struck by lightning twice a during the launch and although it knocked several electrical systems, the main navigation system continued to work and the rest of the mission proceeded successfully.
On Apollo 16 the engine back up system malfunctioned on the command module as it orbited the moon which resulted in the flight being 1 day shorter but mission control determined that they could work around the fault instead of aborting the mission.
Even Apollo 11 was a test flight, with it building upon the previous mission’s results and achievements. It was to be the first attempt at a manned landing and was driven as much by the desire to achieve President Kennedys directive to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade as it was to beat the perceived threat from the Soviets getting there first, US national pride was at stake if either of these failed.
As Apollo 11 was to be the first landing, NASA wanted to make sure that it would be as event free as possible, so they chose to land on the largest flattest part of the moon that they could find, officially known as site 2, it was a 10 mile long elliptical area in the northern sea of tranquillity.
The idea was that the flight computer on board the lander would guide it down to from 50,000 feet to 500 feet above the surface where Neil Armstrong would take over the controls for the final landing.
However, Armstrong became aware early on that things were not going to plan and that they had already flown over the landing site and were heading to a boulder strewn area now known as west crater which about the size of a football field.
He assumed control from the flight computer and manually flew over West crater and another smaller crater before landing at the outer edge of site 2 about 4 miles from its intended target, and uttering the immortal words, “Houston, Tranquillity Base here – the Eagle has landed.”
As he was making the final descent, mission control estimated that they had just 25 seconds of fuel left at the time they landed, although this was later revised to 45 seconds after the mission.

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