What are the odds of being struck by lightning not once, but twice on your way to the moon? It seems the probability of such an event would be nearly impossible, yet that is exactly what happened to Apollo 12 and its crew 36.5 seconds after takeoff on November 14, 1969. Apollo 12 was part of NASA's Apollo program, the space program led to the moon landing that changed history forever.
Lightning may not have been one of the weirdest things astronauts have seen in space, but it certainly constituted danger. Thankfully, the crew was able to survive and successfully complete their mission - all because of an environmental control engineer named John Aaron.
Aaron recognized the use for an incredibly obscure switch that not even his bosses knew about. His quick thinking not only saved the crew of the Apollo 12 mission, but also launched him into stardom amongst his colleagues and earned him the nerdy-yet-affection nickname, "steely-eyed missile man."
Apollo 12 Was The Second US Mission To The Moon, Aiming For "The Ocean Of Storms"
The Spacecraft Was Hit By Lightning Twice In Less Than A Minute After Takeoff
The Astronauts And Engineers Only Had A Minute And A Half To Decide What To Do
John Aaron's Idea Was So Obscure, His Two Bosses Didn't Understand The Directive
Only Pilot Alan Bean Understood Aaron's OrderPhoto: NASA/Charles Conrad / Wikimedia Commons
Aaron Was Able To Fix Apollo 12's Problem Because Of Something He Noticed During A Simulation