Sample Card Text

What was the purpose of the lunar surface phase of the planned Apollo 13 mission?
a. To explore the hilly upland Fra Mauro region of the moon
b. To inspect, survey, and sample material in the Fra Mauro formation
c. To deploy and activate an Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP)
d. To further develop humanity’s capability to work in the lunar environment
e. All of the above

Answer e. The first two Apollo missions were directed to the smooth areas of the moon called “mares.” But most of the moon is covered by the lighter-colored, heavily cratered “highlands,” and Apollo 13 was the first mission to be directed to land near a specific crater. Scientists were extremely eager to obtain samples from the unexplored region. Fra Mauro presented some special challenges. The flat area nearest the crater of most interest to scientists was more than a kilometer away, so the Apollo 13 astronauts were trained to cover a much greater distance than their predecessors had and to climb a relatively steep slope. Unfortunately, Apollo 13 was the only Apollo mission that was unable to land. The goals of that mission would have to wait for the crew of Apollo 14.