How Curiosity, Luck, and the Flip of a Switch Saved the Moon Program

There was a driving rain on Cape Canaveral on the morning of November 14, 1969, as humanity’s second trip to the Moon lifted off, with a set of science experiments and three astronauts on board, and President Nixon in attendance. Seven years after his predecessor had kicked off the whole project by asking why Rice plays Texas, and not many months after two Americans had become ​the first humans to make it to the lunar surface, Apollo 12 was headed for a place on the western edge of the near side of the Moon called the Ocean of Storms, but first they would have to get through an Earth-bound one.

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