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Apollo 13 was the third NASA mission to try and land on the Moon. Apollo 11 was the first mission to land on the Moon in July 1969. Apollo 13 went to space 9 months after Apollo 11, launching on April 11, 1970. The astronauts on Apollo 13 were Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise.

On the way to the Moon, six minutes after they finished a TV broadcast to Earth, there was an explosion. The explosion was in the oxygen tanks and it destroyed a lot of the ship which was supposed to take them to the Moon. The explosion in the oxygen tanks meant Apollo 13 had lost a lot of its oxygen supply. The astronauts had to go into the moon lander to survive. The moon lander was only designed to land on the Moon. It was not supposed to be used for travel through space. NASA and the astronauts had to work very hard to turn the moon lander into a lifeboat.

The astronauts and NASA had to solve many problems to return to Earth. They had to turn off the power to save the batteries so they could land on Earth. This meant they had no heating for days in the very cold space. They had very little water and could only drink 200ml per day. The conditions in the spaceship were very bad, one mistake and all three astronauts would have died. Thanks to the hard work of the astronauts and NASA on Earth, Apollo 13 returned to Earth on April 17, 1970. In 1995, a movie called Apollo 13 was made about the disaster. Tom Hanks played Apollo 13’s Captain, Jim Lovell.

Difficult Words

Launching (v): To set a boat or rocket in motion.

Broadcast (n/v): Put a program on radio or TV.

Oxygen (n): A gas on Earth that humans need to live.

Tank (n): A container for storage.

Condition (n): The quality of something.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Launching  A. Container
 2. Broadcast  B. Quality
 3. Oxygen  C. Go
 4. Tank  D. Show a program.
 5. Condition  E. Gas

True or False?

1. NASA had never been to the Moon before Apollo 13. T / F

2. There were 3 astronauts on Apollo 13. T / F

3. The explosion happened during a TV broadcast.  T / F

4. The moon lander was designed to bring the astronauts back to Earth. T / F

5. The astronauts had to turn the power off.  T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. the / NASA mission / on / third / Apollo13 / land / the Moon / to / was

2. 9 months / to / after / went / Apollo 13 / space / Apollo 11

3. was / tanks / the / The / in / oxygen / explosion

4. astronauts / moon lander / into / had to / the / The / go

5. in / The / spaceship / very / conditions / bad / the / were

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English:

Astronauts Survive Destroyed
Lifeboat Heating Played

Apollo 13 was the third NASA mission to try and land on the Moon. Apollo 11 was the first mission to land on the Moon in July 1969. Apollo 13 went to space 9 months after Apollo 11, launching on April 11, 1970. The (1)_____________ on Apollo 13 were Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise.

On the way to the Moon, six minutes after they finished a TV broadcast to Earth, there was an explosion. The explosion was in the oxygen tanks and it (2)____________ a lot of the ship which was supposed to take them to the Moon. The explosion in the oxygen tanks meant Apollo 13 had lost a lot of its oxygen supply. The astronauts had to go into the moon lander to (3)____________. The moon lander was only designed to land on the Moon. It was not supposed to be used for travel through space. NASA and the astronauts had to work very hard to turn the moon lander into a (4)_____________.

The astronauts and NASA had to solve many problems to return to Earth. They had to turn off the power to save the batteries so they could land on Earth. This meant they had no (5)___________ for days in the very cold space. They had very little water and could only drink 200ml per day. The conditions in the spaceship were very bad, one mistake and all three astronauts would have died. Thanks to the hard work of the astronauts and NASA on Earth, Apollo 13 returned to Earth on April 17, 1970. In 1995, a movie called Apollo 13 was made about the disaster. Tom Hanks (6)___________ Apollo 13’s Captain, Jim Lovell.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Did you know about Apollo 13 before you read this story?
5. Have you seen the Apollo 13 film with Tom Hanks?
6. Have there been any famous disasters that were avoided in your country?
7. What do you think about the Apollo space program?
8. Do you think people would watch if humans went to the Moon again?
9. Have you ever been in a dangerous situation like these astronauts?
10. What do you think about people many years go thinking that going to the Moon would be routine in the future?
11. What technology would you like to see in 30 years?
12. Is space travel still important today?
13. Do you think space travel will ever be the same as air travel today?
14. Would you like to go to space? Why or why not?
15. 4 Apollo missions went to the Moon after Apollo 13, do you think they would have gone if the Apollo 13 astronauts had died?
16. How do you handle stressful situations?
17. Do you think astronauts who are currently on the international space station should stay there because of the coronavirus?
18. Do you like being away from home for a long time?
19. Do you think normal people will ever live in space or on another planet?
20. Is there anything you would like to ask the astronauts of Apollo 13?