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You called it, and we are grateful! Hank analyzes what went wrong with our intro, which gave us the perfect opportunity to talk about the awesomeness that is the Apollo Lunar Lander!


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Hank Green: Everybody makes mistakes.  And we here at SciShow have made our fair share, we made a pretty dumb one every episode of SciShow pretty much for the last year.  Uh, so watch this closely.

(SciShow Intro plays)

Hank: Stefan, can you run that last bit of the intro just one more time?

(SciShow Intro plays)

Hank: You see there?  That graphic, as you probably know, depicts the Apollo Lunar Module, one of the most complex, amazing, and reliable vehicles NASA has ever designed.  At its landing configuration, the spacecraft stood seven meters tall and weighed about 14,700 kg.  Between 1969 and 1972, six of these spacecraft landed on the moon, piloted by a crew of two astronauts, and equally as important, six times those astronauts safely and successfully rocketed off the lunar surface to rendezvous with their orbiting command module.  But the lunar modules ascent from the moon did not look the way that it looks in our intro.

That entire vehicle did not, I repeat, did not leave the surface, we just messed that up, you called us on it, and as a space nut, I am embarrassed.  Why don't we just go to the tape and watch a video of how the Apollo 17 Lunar Module did lift off from the moon on December 14, 1972.  Each Lunar Module consisted of a descent stage and an ascent stage.  The upper ascent stage carried the crew and all of their equipment including guidance, navigation, and life support system as well as the rocket engine and fuel for leaving the moon.  The lower descent stage contained the landing gear, the descent rocket engine, oxygen and water storage, and all of the equipment for the lunar mission.  For the last three Apollo missions, it also carried the famous Lunar Roving Vehicle.  Equally important from a design standpoint, the lower stage of the Lunar Module also acted as a handy launch platform for the ascent stage.  When the time came to leave, explosive bolts allowed the upper section to separate from the descent stage, and the ascent stage rocket engine provided the necessary 3,500 lbs of thrust to make it into lunar orbit.  The most terrifying aspect of the ascent engine is that there wasn't a backup plan.  Had the engine failed to fire on the first try, the astronauts would have just stayed there on the moon forever.  Thankfully, that never happened.  The Lunar Module also served as a life boat of sorts during the Apollo 13 mission after the service module was crippled by an explosion in the oxygen tanks.  But because the lunar module used separate power and life support systems, the three astronauts were able to use it after the command module was damaged, and in doing so, were able to return safely to Earth.  

So yeah, we messed up, but it gave us a chance to talk about the amazing space craft that was the Lunar Module.  Rest assured, we'll be changing up the animation in a few weeks or so.

Speaking of space, perhaps you would like to be president of it, or at least have that title for a day.  To learn how you can receive an honorary SciShow title in our credits, like Associate Producer or President of Space, or if you want to check out some of our other excellent perks, just go to, and as always, you can reach us on Facebook and Twitter and in the comments below, and don't forget to go to and subscribe.

(SciShow Endscreen plays)