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The Way of the Explorer by Edgar D. Mitchell, Dwight Arnan Williams

By Edgar D. Mitchell, Dwight Arnan Williams

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If this could be accomplished, the men stood a reasonable chance of making it at least within the vicinity of Earth alive. There seemed to be just enough of everything needed for a horribly cold three-day trip home, though no one knew exactly how to accomplish the task. The improvisation to make it possible would have to be downright ingenious. All the while, word that Apollo 13 was in danger had spread throughout the world, from Tokyo to Detroit to Tel Aviv. The world was hoping and praying—and watching.

Such a diagnosis would, of course, put any pilot or astronaut out of business. But six years later, in 1969, after a risky and experimental operation, Al was seemingly cured, and began lobbying NASA management for a slot on a lunar flight. Gordon Cooper was retiring, and he, along with Don Eisle and myself, had been the backup crew for Apollo 10, which presumably placed us in line as the prime crew for Apollo 13. Al successfully campaigned to fill Cooper’s assignment, and selected Stuart Roosa and myself as his team.

But a thread of curiosity prevailed, though the scientific tradition I was so much a part of maintained that such events were silly, superstitious nonsense. The theology I was acquainted with claimed that the events were real, but either diabolically or divinely orchestrated—not of this world. It was in this realm of phenomena that the spiritual and physical realities seemed to meet. This was where the interface occurred. If it were true that supernatural phenomena did occur, then the scientific implications could not be more profound.

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