South Dakota Space Grant Consortium

Tom Durkin, Deputy Director of NASA South Dakota Space Grant Consortium discusses the "credible possibility" of a massive new planet in our solar system as well as early findings from the New Horizons spacecraft exploration of Pluto.


On April 11, 1970, Apollo 13 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center for what was to be the third mission to land on the moon. But within two days after lift-off, an oxygen tank exploded crippling the spacecraft and putting the crew in danger. Despite limited power, loss of cabin heat and shortage of drinkable water, the crew returned safely on April 17.


This morning’s scheduled launch of NASA’s next generation Orion spacecraft was scrapped, but officials will try again Friday.  No one will be aboard when it launches, but Orion is designed to take astronauts into deep space, including Mars. NASA wants to test the most risky systems before flying with a crew.

The last time a spacecraft designed for human travel left Low Earth Orbit was the 1972 Apollo 17 mission, which was also the last time astronauts walked on the moon.