What's the Difference between Lost Moon the Book and Apollo 13 the Movie?


Lost Moon

Released: 1994
Author: James Lovell

Apollo 13

Released: 1995
Director: Ron Howard
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In the Book In the Movie
James Lovell
James Lovell
Portrayed by: Tom Hanks
Jack Swigert
Jack Swigert
Portrayed by: Kevin Bacon
Fred Haise
Fred Haise
Portrayed by: Bill Paxton
Ken Mattingly
Ken Mattingly
Portrayed by: Gary Sinise
Gene Krantz
Gene Krantz
Portrayed by: Ed Harris
Apollo 13 Book vs Movie
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This Spoils the Ending
In the Book In the Movie
   The book has much more detail on the Apollo 1 fire and the Apollo 8 flight such as the reading from the book of Genesis and Lovell's naming of Mount Marilyn (later named Montes Secchi by the IAU). The movie barely touches upon Apollo 8.
   The tank explosion that crippled the command module happened about 1.5 minutes after the tank stir The explosion occurs right after the tank is stirred.
   The actual words to Houston after the explosion were; Jack Swigert "I believe we've had a problem here" with Jim Lovell repeating, "Houston, we've had a problem." Swigert says "We've got a problem here." Lovell says "Houston we have a problem."
   James Lovell's mother knows who Armstrong was. Mrs. Lovell (James' mother) is depicted as not recognizing Neal Armstrong.
   This was not a tradition until the Shuttle missions. A scene shows the astronauts greeting their families from across a road prior to the mission. This was done to prevent contact and infection.
   The oxygen tank in the CM exploded due to a damaged heater and insulation inside the tank. The cause is depicted as electrical arcing outside of the tank.
   The crew and management were not concerned about Swigert's flying ability. A NASA official is shown being concerned about Swigert's ability to dock the LM with the CM after leaving Earth orbit.
   This did not happen. Tempers flare between Haise and Swigert about the tank explosion; they yell at each other.
   The CM entered the atmosphere very shallow due to the LEM venting during the flight home which was not planned for due to its use as a lifeboat. The shallow path was depicted as possibly due to a lighter LM than was planned as there was no lunar rocks/samples on board.
   Mattingly is shown working on the power problem for CM startup. This was actually done by Charlie Duke, the astronaut who was sick with German measles and possibly infected Mattingly.
   Lovell fights to keep Mattingly on the crew, but the flight surgeon removes him. Lovell is told he will lose the mission if he wants to keep the crew together. He opts to replace Mattingly.
   The helium burst disk was expected to burst. A battery explosion also happened. The helium disk is shown bursting unexpectedly, the battery explosion is not shown.
   The Grumman Company (maker of the Lunar Module) and their employees were extremely eager provide any assistance to Houston while the Command Module was powered down and the LM was used as a lifeboat. An unnamed Grumman engineer is shown as pessimistic and reluctant to help.
   Lovell's remark to his wife about an alternate destination for Christmas (the moon instead of travel abroad) was in reference to Apollo 8's change in mission from an Earth orbit mission to a Lunar orbit mission. Apollo 8 was in lunar orbit during Christmas 1968. Lovell implies he will be going to the moon for Christmas instead of on vacation. Apollo 13 took place April 1970
   There is much detail on how the oxygen tank was damaged prior to the flight and how the crew and NASA decided to risk flying with a damaged tank. The tank was actually much more badly damaged then they knew prior to the explosion. No details are shown on the decision to fly with a damaged oxygen tank.
   Prior to the CM re-entry, a Grumman Aircraft (LEM contractor) invoice for battery charging, oxygen, personal accommodation and towing was passed around mission control with the intention of presenting it to McDonnell Douglas (the CM contractor) as a joke after the safe arrival of Apollo 13. The bill came to about $417,000. See it here; http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/space-centers/kennedy-space-center/the-apollo-13-invoice/ This does not happen.
   Several engine burns for course corrections and a more rapid return were required prior to and after the helium disk burst. The last course correction was with the attitude thrusters. Only two are shown and none after the disk burst.
   The launch gantry's service arms swing back all together after launch. They are shown swinging back in sequence after ignition.
   He does not. Fred Haise vomits shortly after Translunar injection.
   The book ends with the astronaut's interviews and Lovell's memories of the events years later. Ends with the astronauts arriving on the carrier and Lovell's voice over of the mission.
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