Harrison Schmitt, former astronaut, Senator, and geologist, has written a very perceptive article contrasting how NASA reacted to the Apollo 13 disaster and how BP and Obama are reacting to the Gulf oil spill.
Mr. Tony Hayward, CEO of British Petroleum, has again used the 1970 Apollo 13 experience as analogous to the effort to contain and cap the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. President Obama’s administration’s and the supportive media have done the same, repeatedly. Nothing could be further from the truth!
The response after an oxygen tank explosion in the Apollo 13 spacecraft on its way to the Moon illustrates how complex technical accidents should be handled. It stands in sharp contrast to the Gulf fiasco. Solve the problem first; then investigate objectively; apply the lessons; and then, if absolutely necessary, worry about responsibility.
Nothing in the government’s response to the blowout explosion on the Deepwater Horizon and its aftermath bears any resemblance to the response to the Apollo 13 situation by NASA and its mission control team at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.
You can solve the problem quickly or you can assign blame quickly. Unfortunately, for the residents of the Gulf states – and indeed for all Americans – the Obama Administration (and other politicians) are more interested in the latter than the former.