In 1973 the United States manned space program experienced an extraordinary tragedy, an event that, despite its place as one of the most disturbing episodes of the “space race,” was nevertheless all but ignored during the emerging Watergate scandal that ultimately claimed the presidency of President Richard M. Nixon.
Returning from a successful lunar landing mission, NASA's Apollo 18 suffered a computer error that forced command module pilot Bo Cunningham to take the controls and fly the spacecraft to an emergency landing in the remote Takla Makan Desert of western China, far from the intended splash-down target in the Pacific Ocean. Thirty-six hours would pass before NASA located the spacecraft, by then the site of a national tragedy. What happened during the astronauts' time in the desert, the inquiry that followed, and the mystery surrounding the event, is the subject of "The Landing."
"The Landing" is a riveting investigation into the notorious conclusion of Apollo 18, the United States' final mission to the moon. Interviews with witnesses and participants, conducted on the 25th anniversary of the incident, reveal new layers of the mystery that continues to surround events which nearly destroyed an American institution.
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