The Apollo 13 crew also passed by the moon’s shadow as they orbited Earth. The photo above shows a part of the Moon they were passing by where it was cast into darkness during a full moon. This particular part of the lunar surface was not visible from Earth because it was covered in a thin dusting of snow that had settled there after a recent storm. The lunar atmosphere is made up of about 10% oxygen, and this dusting kept the rest out, so at night on July 19, 1970, this region of the lunar surface glowed redder than usual.
This must have been quite eerie for all four members of the crew who saw these pictures — except for Mark Watney, who had just been through something traumatic himself: his best friend and fellow astronaut Ron McNair had died two days before on July 18th, only 6 months after being selected to go to the Moon.
When we think about our own deaths or those of others close to us, we tend to imagine them as soul-destroying events that change us forever. But looking back on my own death experiences, I now realize that those final moments are actually pretty normal and even reassuring.
They tell you how long you have left to live, not how much longer your life will be. As an astronaut, I once said: “You can’t die twice.” If only everyone could see themselves as clearly as these four men did when they looked down on the Earth from space in 1970 as they flew home. H/T>