Full Moon in Gemini — December 14, 2016, 00:05 UT

The Full Moon in Gemini was in conjunction with 19521 Chaos, a trans-Neptunian object with orbital period of approximately 310 years. It is a so-called cubewano and possibly a dwarf planet. It is not in resonance with Neptune and its orbit never crosses the orbit of Neptune.

Chaos was discovered in 1998 and named after the original state of existence in Greek mythology. Nowadays we usually understand chaos as a state of confusion or disorder, but in Greco-Roman tradition Chaos was a divine primordial condition, a dark and formless void. It was the origin of the gods, and all things.

chaos
Image: Sirja Melto

The Apollo 13 lunar landing mission is a good example of Chaos at work, showing its dual nature. The space craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 19:13 UT from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The Sun was in conjunction with Chaos.

Two days after the launch of Apollo 13, an oxygen tank exploded causing a chaotic situation in the space craft. The lunar landing was aborted, and the crew had to start fighting for their lives. The power in the vehicle was limited, the internal temperature dropped, and the carbon dioxide removal system needed to be repaired using duct tape and other stuff available in the craft.

The creative solutions of the astronauts and the ground crew in Houston made the safe return to Earth possible for Apollo 13 crew.

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