an 24, 2023Let's talk about Apollo 12 and its incredible 30-year journey through space. In September 2002, astronomers discovered what they first thought was an asteroid, but would soon find out it was the Saturn V third stage that launched the Apollo 12 astronauts to the Moon. This rocket left Earth in 1969 and returned to Earth 30 years later. But what happened in the meantime? In this video, we look at how one tiny error in the Apollo 12 mission sent this rocket stage on a 30-year trip through space!
We are still learning about "funny" orbits in the solar system. Cruithne, Earth's second moon, was only discovered in 1997 with a horseshoe orbit.
What I did not recall from the time and learned from the video was the interaction with the Lagrange (la-granj, not la-graenj) point.
I could not determine which S-IVB this image is of, but I imagine that the AS12 S-IVB paint would have yellowed from long exposure to solar UV.